Chapter 111: Two Ends of Mind
Holding back his intense desire to scream and run in the classroom, Lou Cheng lowered his head and revealed the pure joy in his heart to Yan Zheke.
"I feel I can't calm down anymore. I'm so happy that I want to jump off the classroom building and then swim a few rounds in the lake!"
Yan Zheke used a shy emoji and laughed. "Don't scare your teacher..."
"Wish I were not in class! I want to shout out loud!" Lou Cheng was delighted to the point of incoherence. His body was so full of joy that it was close to spilling out. He couldn't help asking, "You... When did you start to like me?"
Yan Zheke replied an emoji of a stunning dog. "When did I say I like you? When did I say yes to your confession? I just wanted you to enjoy for ﬁve more minutes!" "Ahh..." Lou Cheng's passion died at once as if in an icy cold cave, his heart uneasy and restless.
Yan Zheke continued, "He-heh... To win my heart, you have 81 challenges to pass. There are still many requirements for you to meet beside the prerequisites that I agree to be your life mentor."
"Phew..." Lou Cheng breathed a sigh of relief and joy once again occupied his mind. His mood went on a roller-coaster ride, rising and falling rapidly and abruptly.
She is just being bashful and playing hard to get...
"No problem. I'm ready for 10,000 challenges!" He spoke out his resolution with no hesitation.
"Don't you forget what you just said..." Yan Zheke added a shy emoji. "When did you start to like me?" Possessed by joy and excitement, Lou Cheng opened up with Yan Zheke. "Actually... To be honest, I was secretly in love with you in high school..."
"... I need ﬁve more minutes to laugh on the balcony..." Yan Zheke ﬂushed before coming to a sudden realization. "You! It was not a random encounter between two school mates outside the stadium. You came to chat me up! I was so glad to meet someone from the same school, trustworthy and reliable with no bad intention... I wouldn't have given you my QQ number! Hmm!"
Although Yan Zheke couldn't see his face in text messages, Lou Cheng scratched his head unconsciously, beaming at all this. "He-heh..."
He continued, "You have no idea how nervous I was so afraid you would see me through and refuse to give me your contact information."
Yan Zheke chuckled. "What if I didn't give you. What would you do? Give up?" "Naive and inexperienced, I wouldn't have any courage left if I was turned down. However, I might get up on my feet and march on following Little Ming's advice..." Lou Cheng thought while typing. "No way! I have joined the Martial Arts Club for you. I would certainly enjoy special advantages from this favorable position."
"You joined the Martial Arts Club for me?" Yan Zheke was genuinely surprised.
"Yeah. I saw you at the Martial Arts Club's recruitment fair and signed Little Ming and myself up. Well, it's not a coincidence. It's fate." After the confession, Lou Cheng could tell his skin was becoming thicker and thicker. Those loving words he used to imply vaguely now could be said easily.
Yan Zheke sent a emoji of smiling and asked, "Why do you like me? What do you like me about?"
"The true fondness can't be explained. I don't know why I like you. I used to walk by your classroom just to admire your beauty. Then your ﬁgure started to lock my eyes, and any topics about you stole my full attention. And I would guess your exam results every time. I suddenly realized I like you." Lou Cheng expressed his feeling with no decorative words.
He continued before Yan Zheke could interrupt, "Back in high school, I simply admired a perfect goddess, putting all my imagination about beauty and sweetness on you. I touched myself and hinted myself. After spending some time with you, I began to see you as a real girl who would feel happy, angry, sad and joyful with her little weak points."
"The more I know you, the more I like you. I like your lips twisted into a smile. I like your head turning away to cover your emotion. I like your bubbliness and brightness under your elegance and delicacy. I like your passion for martial arts. I like your taking part in my growth. I like your analysis of my enemy. I like your singing and cheering for me. I like your dislike of annoying boys. I like your staying in bed late in the morning. I like your pout. I like your longing to improve your martial arts. I like you very much. All of you!"
Lou Cheng was quite impressed with his own romantic talk after reading it through. Is it because these words are all from the depths of my heart?
Yan Zheke waited sometime before responding.
"You are bad! My face is so red and hot now. And I have tears in my eyes... My roommates are coming back... I have to wash up now so they won't notice anything unusual and laugh at me..."
"Okay. Okay. Go!" Lou Cheng could barely hide his joy.
Raising his head, Lou Cheng was shocked by the emptiness of the classroom. Only Cai Zongming and a few students on their study were there.
"The class is over?" Lou Cheng asked, puzzled.
Cai Zongming cackled and said, "Apparently." "How come I didn't notice anything?" Lou Cheng murmured unconsciously.
"Occupied by love, how can you notice anything?" Cai Zongming moved his brows. "I think you are about to get naked and streak. Any breakthrough? I can't believe just now your face was gloomy like hell... After all, small friction is beneﬁcial to romantic relationships."
Lou Cheng hastened to share his happiness.
"Yeah! I declared my love and she accepted it!"
"Cough..." Cai Zongming was almost choked by his own mouth water. "You declared your love just like that? On QQ? And she accepted it?"
Lou Cheng was ﬂushed with success. "Yeah... I typed my love on the spur of the moment..." "Type? Didn't you calm down a little bit while typing?" Cai Zongming glanced at other students in the room and lowered his voice.
"You know... When you are at the moment, you can't think thoroughly... My confession was only a dozen words, not an essay. When I calmed down, it was already sent... I was all like 'How the heck am I? Where the heck am I? What the heck did I just do?'" Lou Cheng explained his mental process.
Cai Zongming was lost for a second and heaved a sigh. "Very normal. Seriously. Puppy love is all about making mistakes and acting on the spur of the moment. Otherwise, we wouldn't call it pure and hot! Lucky you! You foreshadowed well in advance or you would have been refused brutally!"
"Phew..." Lou Cheng also breathed a sigh of relief. "I'm rather scared when looking back... I wouldn't have any more chance in case she turned me down..."
Cai Zongming chuckled. "At least you have fear after the confession. Following my advice, you would have at least a 90% chance of holding her hand and becoming her boyfriend within three months. But the outcome of a rushed declaration of love would be hard to predict."
"If she turned you down... Well, that's nothing. Sometimes girls say no when they kind of like you but not like you enough to change their life style. All you need to do is to stay closer and try harder.
"Be conﬁdent and imprudent and stick around as if no confession ever took place. Do it right, and you may still succeed. The saying 'A hot girl is afraid of men who pursue and paw without giving up' makes sense. However, if she became very cold and desolate after your confession and stayed this way for a while, it would be time for you to quit."
Lou Cheng grinned, his eyes squinting. "Thank God she likes me!"
He suddenly rose up, packed his bag and dragged Cai Zongming, longing to let off his ecstasy.
"Talker, let's run back!" "Run?" Cai Zongming was not given any time to ﬁnish his sentence. Lou Cheng pulled him and began to run, down ﬂights of stairs of the classroom building, passing several school structures, a long bridge, and the pedestrian walkway all the way to Building Seven of the boy's dormitory.
"Phew... Phew... Phew..." Cai Zongming was panting hard, close to throwing up. "Damn you... You run... Why drag me? Drag me for what? Bloody hell! I didn't confess my love...
You ran... And you ran so fast...
Lou Cheng answered with a smirk,
"I'm too excited!"
He pulled out his phone to check on if Yan Zheke had ﬁnished washing and cleaning, but saw a few new messages from her. "Hmm, Cheng, you must be on your way back to your dorm."
"Here are something I'm too shy to tell you in person. I'll say it quietly here."
"You asked me when I started to like you. I realized it when I suddenly decided to wish you a happy birthday at midnight. I realized I had started to feel happy, sad, worried and angry for you."
"When you brought grilled eggplant for me, I was really happy and thrilled. I turned my head away because I didn't want you to see my ugly crying face... To treat me to a nice meal, you went to check and try restaurants in person. Your silly earnest made me smile... I was thinking to myself that I'd like you more and more over time. But you suddenly confessed your love to me today..."
"I was very happy earlier. It is something I never experienced before. However, I have hesitation and bewilderment as I'm not ready yet. I haven't liked you enough to change my current life style and I don't have enough courage to invite one more person into my life. So I didn't write you anything until you asked again."
"I was also asking myself when you asked me. Do I want to miss you? Miss this silly Lou Cheng? I know I'll be very sad and sorry if I lose you. As I have already started to like you, why don't I give it a try?"
"Cheng, I think I need a bit more time to accept all the changes, to like you as much as you like me, to overcome my timidness and take the heart of grace to be your girlfriend. Will you wait for me?"
Lou Cheng had tears in his eyes. He nodded heavily though she couldn't see.
Lou Cheng replied after a deep breath.
"I will. I will wait for you for the rest of my life." His heart and soul became lighter and lighter. The earlier ecstasy was replaced by a gentle but everlasting joy and peace as if the lustrous moonlight was shining on the softest spot in his heart.
Different emotions but same beautiful!
Chapter 112: Work Harder for Her
Lou Cheng found everything so beautiful, every student coming in and out so lovely, even noises so pleasant to listen and damp air so sweet to smell. The bright moon close to the full indicated perfection and satisfactory.
Yan Zheke responded to his loving promise immediately with a silly but cute emoji. "What are you talking about? I don't get it. My account was hijacked... Yeah, it was hijacked!"
Phew... Lou Cheng almost burst into laughter. He could see Yan Zheke shy and haughty, trying to be serious. "Bad person hijacked my Coach Yan's account... I'll write down all these words in my notebook and read one hundred times every day to recollect this memory and denounce the bad person!"
After this confession, he felt less constrained and more comfortable talking to his loved girl.
"..." Speechless, Yan Zheke sent an apostrophe. "Forget about it. Delete it! Are you already planning on recollecting memories shortly after your love confession?" "Okay, okay. I'll forget about it right now!" Lou Cheng laughed before continuing, "But I will never forget what I just promised."
Yan Zheke used the sitting at a loss emoji. "... Did you have many relationships before? Why are you so good at this? I'm a square..."
"These days cute girls love to say square whenever they are ﬂustered..." Lou Cheng hurried to explain himself. "No, you are my ﬁrst love! I'm not good at it, just sharing with you the sincere thoughts of mine. Be honest and frank with no decoration."
"First love..." Yan Zheke chuckled. "What a pity I didn't go to your classroom often as I was afraid of being watched in high school. I missed the Lou Cheng arriving at puberty, sillier and cuter.
Lou Cheng's joy was spilling out. "That's true. I was sillier back then and had very little conﬁdence. I drew back from everything other than study and games. I'm glad you didn't notice me, or it would become part of my dark history..." He talked about his past frankly, revealing the most real side of himself to Yan Zheke.
"I was the same at that time, very self-abased as everyone else was ﬁne but only I was congenitally deﬁcient. I was very interested in martial arts but could only watch it enviously..." Yan Zheke didn't seem to mind Lou Cheng's uselessness in high school but found some sympathetic response.
Lou Cheng changed the topic as he didn't want Yan Zheke to soak in the past sadness. "I was so happy earlier... I wanted to shout but was afraid of scaring others... So I dragged Little Ming and ran all the way back at the speed of hundred-meter dash. He's still catching his breath... I still want to cry out my joy...
"Phew... Poor Little Ming." Yan Zheke chuckled. "Don't show off in front the single. They will kick your ass!"
"Little Ming is not poor. One day I'll give him a fat red envelope for teaching me, guiding me and answering my questions." Lou Cheng put on a smirk. "To be honest, I was so tempted to go to your building just to have a look at you... Err... When I saw the messages sent from your hijacked account, I realized it might scare you so I held it back. We have a long journey to go. No rush..."
Again he was impressed by his talents in sweet talks. "Is it men's instinct or my gift?"
Yan Zheke replied a shy smile. "This is the good Cheng!"
Lou Cheng was very glad for the compliment. He asked out of curiosity, "Did you notice my fondness of you long, long time ago?"
"Err... A little bit..." Yan Zheke used the emoji with rolling eyes. "I was all like what is wrong with this friend... Why does he talk to me every day? Why every day? Yes, we have a lot to talk about. However, dare he confess his love for me, I'll say no crudely!"
"Thank god I am making progress in a stepwise manner!" said Lou Cheng after the emoji of wiping cold sweat off. Thank you, Little Ming for your persuasion and contrivance!
My good teacher and helpful friend never fails me!
"I was too silly, fooled by your innocent looks. Hmm!" Yan Zheke sent an emoji in tears.
"I'll fool you for the rest of my life..." Lou Cheng was too shy to say it. Abruptly his shoulder was tapped. Cai Zongming had recovered from the long run, pointing at the time on his mobile and then looking at their dorm.
"Holy cow! Already past ten! Time ﬂies when you are having fun!" Lou Cheng felt melancholy.
The evening class ended at 9:35. He wasted some time in the classroom and chatted with Yan Zheke for a good while. It was actually pretty normal to be past 10 o'clock.
But 10:30 is my bed time... I hate to do it! How disappointing! He thought about it and revealed her true feeling to Yan Zheke. "It's already 10 something... I better go to bed now so I can get up early tomorrow for my training. I wanted to stay up until midnight, but Little Ming's advice just came to my mind. I shouldn't hold back my feeling for her as I'm not good enough. Instead, I should improve myself to become a suitable match for her.
"I want to become a man that deserves your love so I can't spare myself from my training."
They were not his exact words but pretty much the same.
Yan Zheke replied a shy smile. "I would urge you to sleep if you didn't volunteer. Go and wash up. Say goodnight to me after."
"Yes!" Lou Cheng agreed gladly.
Yan Zheke sent another message. "Hmm... Err... That... I like the silly Cheng. And the Cheng focusing on martial arts training..."
"Ahh... How annoying! My account was hijacked again! Don't reply!"
Lou Cheng's eyes curved with joy and his heart warm and tender. He couldn't hold back his smile at this adorable Yan Zheke. He liked her very much.
"Hmm... I didn't see anything and I didn't reply." He tried to sound serious.
Putting the mobile back in his pocket, Lou Cheng raised his head, seeing Cai Zongming shaking his head with a bitchy sneer. "Look at you. Your face reminds me of myself in my ﬁrst relationship back to my primary school days..."
"Say whatever you like. I'm in a really good mood!" Lou Cheng responded in a merry tone. Cai Zongming chuckled. "Well, let me tell you some brutal truth... In a relationship, the one that confesses ﬁrst will become the provider and lose the initiative and the position of prominence."
Lou Cheng looked at him, puzzled.
"Why do I need to seize the initiative and the position of prominence over her? I like her more than she likes me. So I cherish her and spoil her. Isn't it good?"
Cai Zongming appeared speechless, his lips twitching.
"I need to vomit... That's gross!"
"He-heh..." Lou Cheng wasn't offended at all. He went back to the dorm room and washed up quickly. He wanted to climb up to his bed without chatting with Zhao Qiang and Qiu Zhigao but decided to back up his messages with Yan Zheke in his laptop and on several cloud servers. This is worth looking back for the rest of my life!
How would we feel when we reread this in each other's arms when our hair is gray and teeth are loose?
After turning off his laptop and taking off his clothes, Lou Cheng went up to his bed and sneered. "I'm lying in my bed now. Can't sleep until you say goodnight to me!"
Slowly it will become a hug goodnight and then a kiss goodnight!
Yan Zheke used the emoji of laughing behind its hands. "OK. Goodnight. Sweet dreams. I'm going to bed myself soon. Today has been intense. I'm pretty tired."
"Goodnight. Dream about me!" Lou Cheng threw a bold ﬂirt.
"Bah! No way!" Yan Zheke felt shy from embarrassment. The night was drawing on. Lou Cheng fell deep asleep with a sweet smile, just as happy in his dreams.
The next early morning he showed up at the lake on time. Gazing at the foggy dimness, he was hit by a sudden pity that he couldn't do better as a boyfriend like those in ﬁctions delivering breakfast to their university girlfriend because of the morning training.
Suddenly, an idea came to his mind.
"I can totally make some time. If I start my training 20 minutes earlier, I can ﬁnish it 20 minutes earlier. During the endurance training, I can run far to buy breakfast for Yan Zheke from some restaurant other than the school canteen. He-heh... That's what I'll do once I ﬁgure out what breakfast she likes in Songcheng."
Having his spirits raised, Lou Cheng trained harder and harder. Geezer Shi was very impressed and confused if his student had taken any stimulant.
Between punches and kicks, Lou Cheng visualized thunder clouds vibrating to pull his throat and chest and drag his ﬁve viscera and six bowels, giving out a low thundering sound matching with the tremor force. Little by little his bones and marrow shook and those corners in his body that couldn't be reached usually were one by one touched.
Before he noticed it, the morning training was over. He quickly ﬁnished his breakfast and ran to the martial arts stadium to see Yan Zheke!
As he walked in, his eyes found Yan Zheke instantly like a radar. Four eyes met.
Yan Zheke quickly moved her eyes away, her long eyelashes ﬂapping and her face ﬂushing. She took a quick glance at Lou Cheng before turning her head away with a look of pretended annoyance. Unconsciously Lou Cheng's face also turned red. Knowing girls were shy and she needed more time to adjust, he didn't recklessly run up to say hi. Instead, he went straight to his spot, frequently checking on her.
Every time he had his eyes on Yan Zheke, she had hers on him brieﬂy, which ﬁlled up his heart with sweetness and tacit understanding.
The pair glanced at each other like that the whole morning.
The training soon came to the ﬁnal pair exercise part.
Geezer Shi coughed to clear his throat.
"The schedule of the preliminaries has been conﬁrmed. Over 20 teams have signed up in Songcheng. Together with a few neighboring cities, our division will be divided into four groups of eight or nine teams. One round of single cycle home-and- away competitions settled by lot. The best top of each group will advance to have home-and-away elimination matches with each other, ﬁghting for the two places of our division. "We are in Group Three with other seven teams. So we have seven matches to attend no matter we can advance or not. Our ﬁrst opponent will be the Hongluo Martial Arts School from Songcheng on the afternoon of 17. An away competition for us. I'll send all videos and materials to our members who will
attend the preliminaries. Have a good study in the next couple of days."
Lou Cheng pulled himself together and itched to have a go.
Friends from the Hongluo Martial Arts School! Feel my joy and excitement!
Chapter 113: The First Date
After he was done with the pair exercise, Lou Cheng cast a glance at Yan Zheke and was just about to head over to her.
Cai Zongming, who had just been ravaged by 'Gorilla' happened to pass by and mocked him once. "Isn't it enough that the two of you have made eyes at each other for the whole morning during exercise? Spare some thoughts for the other damn singles, will you? Consider the feeling of this foreigner too!"
"Hehe..." Lou Cheng let out a laugh ﬁrst before throwing him an excuse. "I need to conﬁrm tomorrow's arrangements!"
After he said this, he strode away with wide steps before Cai Zongming could reply and made his way right in front of Yan Zheke.
"How punctual of you~" Guo Qing teased him once while wiping the sweat from her forehead. She returned to the female's locker room. Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke smiled at each other, as they noticed the embarrassment in both their eyes. However, the awkwardness of being teased a few days ago had already vanished, and there was the hint of some indescribable sweet happiness instead.
"She knows about us already?" Lou Cheng randomly sought out a topic to start the conversation.
Yan Zheke crossed her arms before her chest and turned towards the side. Her cheeks had blushed once more as she feigned a spit and said,
"Is there nothing between us?"
"You're the one who's looking a little obvious, you know. She loves using this to tease me, saying that Cheng is most likely to chase you or something. What on earth are you thinking?"
"What on earth are you thinking then?" Lou Cheng asked, beaming. Yan Zheke threw him a glance immediately, and the movement of her eyes caused his heart to pulse wildly. "I'm not thinking about anything at all! I normally turn it around and joke about her and Qiu Zhigao during such a time."
She seemed to have relaxed quite a bit after seeing that Lou Cheng did not display overly close affection towards her, and simply ﬂirted a little more than he used to do. Her hands were no longer grasping at each other, and she used one hand to comb the hair that had escaped her ponytail while keeping the other hand downward.
"Are they making any progress then?" Lou Cheng took the opportunity to ask.
Yan Zheke wrinkled her beautiful eyebrows slightly, "No progress, I suppose. Guo Qing has been pretty troubled about this as of late. You and Qiu Zhigao share the same bedroom. Do you know what he thinks?"
"He's a nerd, always leaving early and returning late every day. Other than meeting each other in some classes, we'll only chat half an hour before I go to bed. At any rate, he wouldn't bring up Guo Qing on his own unless we start to joke about their relationship." Lou Cheng sold Qiu Zhigao out without any hesitation at all.
He had successfully chased Yan Zheke, so he didn't bother whether he could maintain a friendly relationship with Guo Qing!
After he said this, he changed the topic and said, "Are we having lunch or dinner outside tomorrow?"
He had his answer long ago in regards to this question, but no matter what his thoughts might be, he felt that he should still consider the girl's view ﬁrst, and should only make a swift decision if the girl looked a little hesitant about it. This way, he was able to show both respect to the girl and his conﬁdence in making his own judgment.
Yan Zheke's eyes looked up adorably and she replied after a moment of pondering, "Let's go during lunch. If we were delayed by anything unexpected during the night, we might not be able to catch the last school bus." "Okay." Lou Cheng agreed without any hesitation at all.
In reality, he was hoping to eat dinner since the special training would only end at noon. It would be a little rushed if they were to head out for lunch during this time. He was ﬁne after the martial arts training in the morning, but Yan Zheke would most deﬁnitely be feeling a little tired. The proper way would be to allow her time to take a bath, take an afternoon nap, and rest for a while. However, since the girl had made a choice to date during the afternoon, then he had to agree even if it meant raising all four limbs into the air. In the text 'having a date with Yan Zheke', the important word was 'Yan Zheke' and not the 'date'!
Moreover, he vaguely understood that Yan Zheke's choice was propelled by the fact that he had made his confession too hastily and consequently forced her to accept it just hurriedly. She wasn't used to the change in their roles yet, and she was instinctively afraid about what might happen next if they could not catch up to the school bus. This was the part where he needed to put on a good show of performance and allow her to lay down her defenses little by little. When he thought up to this point, he wore a slight smile on his face and said, "I'm gonna analyze every inch of the data and videos on Hongluo Martial Arts School later today, so I can hurry up and ask your guidance tomorrow, Coach Yan."
"Pu..." Yan Zheke laughed involuntarily before her countenance smoothened. "Very good, it'd seem that you have a very positive attitude! So you haven't forgotten that I'm Coach Yan~"
Both parties chatted quite happily about this subject. There was faint happiness resonating between the space where their eyes met.
By this point, Guo Qing had ﬁnished bathing, tidied her stuff and walked out of the female locker room. As she stared astonishingly at the duo, her mouth turned into an 'O' shape as she blurted out. "You guys are still talking to each other?"
"How long have they been chatting?" She cast suspicious glances between Lou Cheng and Yan Zheke. Yan Zheke hurriedly feigned normality as she said, "We'll talk more about Hongluo Martial Arts School when there's time. I'll be taking my bath now."
After she said this, she hurried her way into the female locker room without daring to look at Lou Cheng or Guo Qing. A blush seemed to rise on her face yet again.
"Haha, I'm gonna take my bath too." Lou Cheng avoided Guo Qing's interrogative gaze, let out two burst of dry laughter and headed towards the male locker room.
Their strange actions caused Guo Qing to curl her lips involuntarily and mutter under her breath,
… The next day afternoon, the second the pair exercise had ended, Lou Cheng ﬂew into the male locker room with unsurpassable speed.
He didn't seek out Yan Zheke to talk today because they had already agreed to meet each other at twelve ﬁfty at the bus station!
After he had bathed himself from top to bottom carefully, he rushed straight back to the dormitory without waiting for Cai Zongming and opened his wardrobe. Following 'Casanova's' guidance last night, he picked the short leather jacket that gave him a spirited look, and put on a pair of beige colored casual pants in pursuit of a clean and refreshing appearance.
After he was ﬁnished changing his clothes, he arrived before the basin, gave himself a serious shave and tidied his hair style while suppressing his excitement. He wished that he could do every detail to perfection.
After he was ﬁnished with his preparation, he checked his cell phone and discovered that it was only 12:30 p.m. There was still a full 20 minutes before the encounter, and even if he walked all the way from the dormitory to the bus station it would take at most 5 to 6 minutes.
"Let's go there early and wait for her..." Lou Cheng thought while feeling both excitement and nervousness.
This is the very ﬁrst date of my life!
When he walked past the supermarket, he suddenly had a ﬂash of thought, took a turn and walked right into the store.
It would probably take at least 50 minutes between getting on the bus until the sautéed crab was cooked. This meant that Yan Zheke would only be able to eat after 1:40 p.m. She had trained for an entire morning, and now it was the time where she needed to replenish energy the most. She would be uncomfortably hungry by the time the sautéed crab was served!
I'll buy her some snacks to eat on the way! When he was making his selection, Lou Cheng recalled the words Yan Zheke once said to him and sought out her preferences.
"Mm, she dislikes sweet biscuits and enjoys crackers more... I can't buy too much or it'll affect the next arrangements..." A few minutes later, Lou Cheng bought a small bag of biscuits to the counter. After a moment of consideration, he then added another small bottle of mineral water into the purchase. He did not ask for a plastic bag but stuffed the items into his left and right pocket.
Hehe, I should give her a pleasant surprise!
After arriving at the bus station, he stuffed both hands into the pockets of his leather jacket to conceal the fact that they looked swollen. He didn't wait long before an immeasurably beautiful ﬁgure gracefully walked towards him.
Yan Zheke wore a pink colored sweater on the inside, and a long white down jacket on the outside. Her clothes had a hat with the same ﬂuffy edges attached to it. It accentuated her beauty and made her look both beautiful and tender. She wore a pair of black leggings at the bottom, and her legs looked both long and straight. She wore a pair of girlish snow boots on her feet, which made her look both charming and cute.
Lou Cheng was a little spellbound by her appearance, and after inhaling once deeply, he told himself that he needed to appear generous and digniﬁed. He could not look like he was cowering before her appearance. Then, he pulled out his hands and welcomed her and said, smiling slightly, "It seems like you would always arrive ahead of time?"
It was only when he approached Yan Zheke that he noticed that she was wearing a cute shoulder backpack with thin strappings. It gave her a very student-like atmosphere.
Yan Zheke did not look as open as she usually did. She bowed her head and smiled faintly, saying, "I very much dislike people who arrive late of time, and after I put myself in another's shoes, it became a habit for me to arrive at a meeting ahead of time too."
"She hates those who arrive late..." Lou Cheng memorized this and turned his body to the side. He pointed at the school bus and said,
"This bus is just about to head out right away. I've already bought the tickets already."
"Mm." Yan Zheke nodded almost unnoticeably and looked a little shy. She quietly followed Lou Cheng and fell half a step backward behind him. They got up the school bus together and found a pair of joined seats.
After letting her take the seat beside the window, Lou Cheng gave himself a boost of encouragement and got ready to dispel the discomfort the girl was feeling. And he purposely said, "It's quite late already. Are you hungry?"
Yan Zheke was startled for a moment before she slowly nodded. "A little."
"It would take twenty or thirty minutes to reach the old school district, and we have to switch transports later and wait for the dishes to be served later. We may not be able to eat anything before ﬁfty minutes have passed." Lou Cheng purposely voiced his analysis before taking out the small bag of biscuits from his pockets. "I, I bring a bag of soda crackers for you. Have some of these so that your stomach won't feel unwell."
Yan Zheke raised her right hand and covered her mouth, looking somewhat surprised at Lou Cheng. It was vivid that joy had ﬂowed out of her eyes when she saw the bag of crackers appear in front of her.
"I'll have some then," she said in a soft tone as the corner of her lips curled upwards unconsciously.
Lou Cheng hurriedly opened the bag for her and handed it over to her. Yan Zheke grabbed and took out one cracker using her delicate ﬁngers.
She was just about to put it in her mouth when she suddenly paused and said with a soft voice, "Ay, I didn't bring water with me. It'll get pretty uncomfortable to eat crackers without water." Lou Cheng 'conjured' a small bottle of mineral water smilingly and opened the bottle cap. He stared straight at her eyes and said,
"I've prepared it already."
Yan Zheke's pink lips opened slightly, as a layer of haziness ﬂashed past her beautiful eyes. She turned her head and looked out the window, biting her lips softly with her teeth and said smilingly, "I was wondering what's inside your pocket. So these are what you're holding..."
When Lou Cheng saw her gracefully ﬁnish the crackers and drink the water, he struck while the iron was hot and took out his cell phone. He replayed a video he had downloaded beforehand and said, "This's the collection of the best matches fought by the captain of Hongluo Martial Arts School, Jiang Guosheng. What do you think, Coach Yan?"
The master of Hongluo Martial Arts School was a Sixth Pin Dan stage expert called Wang Hui. He was old, and his disciple's disciples would be the leading players this time. The leader of the team was the Professional Ninth Pin Jiang Guosheng. He was the direct disciple of the martial arts line, ranking at ﬁfth place at thirty-four years old.
Yan Zheke moved her head closer and watched the video with bright eyes, saying, "I've given it a serious research. Looking at the data available on the internet, it would appear that the school master Wang Hui once had a background at 'Longhu Club'. Therefore, their ﬁst style obviously carried a resemblance with the 'Fire Sect's Unique Skill'. They are well versed in explosive power, attack, and possessed the secret inheritance called 'ﬂaming force'. Once this move struck an enemy, the force would burst apart, causing a burning sensation on one's skin. It's somewhat similar to your Power of Blaze, but it did not contain the tremor force that you speak of."
Lou Cheng also moved a little closer to her, and almost out of one's mind as he stared at her supple black hair and caught a whiff of her near indiscernible scent. He was so distracted that he nearly couldn't focus on what they were talking about at all, so he had no choice but to force Condensation Stance onto himself and answer seriously, "Their ﬁghting style is very much like the 'Fire-like Invasion Move,' exploding into bursts of power again and again. They aim to break their enemies through sheer force before their own strength is depleted." "In this regard, Jiang Guosheng's ﬁghting style is more prudent, whereas Fang Tong's ﬁghting style is more frantic. Fang Tong is like an uncontrollable blaze of ﬁre, but Jiang Guosheng has better mastery when it comes to dealing a killer move. He seemed capable of compressing the force in his entire body into a tiny area before exploding it outwards. It does share some semblance to a dan stage martial artist's move." Yan Zheke said in glowing spirits. Before she knew it, the anxiety and uneasiness she was feeling had mostly vanished.
Fang Tong was the other Professional Ninth Pin in Hongluo Martial Arts School and a disciple's disciple under the school master Wang Hui. He was a powerful twenty-three years old ﬁghter, and Hongluo Martial Arts School could be considered to be at the middle level in the preliminaries with two Professional Ninth Pins in the team.
While exchanging words about this matter and arriving at the old school district, Lou Cheng discovered with joy that Yan Zheke seemed to have regained a state of normalcy. She would only blush during the occasional moments he was staring at her. The duo walked inside the campus and rushed towards the closest north gate. The online hailed car was waiting right there. The cold snap of spring hadn't decreased along the way, and every blow of the wind felt very cold.
Lou Cheng subconsciously sneaked a glance at Yan Zheke's left hand. The girl's skin was white and tender, and her ﬁngers were thin and long. Her ﬁngernails were a healthy pink color.
If I hold her hand, would she shake it off away?
Thump thump thump! Lou Cheng's heartbeat abruptly quickened at the sudden appearance of the thought. Varied thoughts ran through his mind as they started a tug of war.
Although she has said that she wants some time to get used to dating life, it should be ﬁne if I held her hand for a little while since we have already conﬁrmed our relationship, shouldn't it?
Would this make her unhappy, and make her think that I don't respect her enough because I forcefully hold her hand before she has adjusted?
Just as he was hesitating, Yan Zheke suddenly put both hands into her down jacket's pockets and said smilingly, "It's pretty cold."
"Yeah..." Lou Cheng choked out.
Alright, I guess there's no need to struggle now!
Yan Zheke cast a glance at him and asked strangely, "What's wrong, Cheng?"
"It's nothing. I was just feeling a little guilty and afraid that you might get a little too hungry..." Lou Cheng spoke the truth, but it wasn't what he was really thinking just now. Yan Zheke pursed her lips into a smile and said, "I'm the one who've chosen this timing. Why would it be your fault?"
While chatting about trivial things, the duo reached the north gate and got on the online-hailed car. They soon arrived at 'Dingshang Sautéed Crab in Hot and Spicy Sauce'. Lou Cheng had checked and conﬁrmed a long time ago that this restaurant would only close after two thirty, so there was no need to worry if they might miss lunch.
"Six crabs please, the 499 yuan kind." Lou Cheng blurted out the words he had prepared a while ago the second he saw the waiter.
He had no intentions to mind about money at all during his ﬁrst date!
The waiter was just about to jot this down when Yan Zheke pulled Lou Cheng, pursed her lips and said, "I think it'll be better if we take the 199 yuan ones. All crabs taste about the same, and the bigger they are the heavier their shell is. It's not worth it. The one hundred and ninety-nine kind is just perfect, and anything smaller would not have meat in their legs." Her distinct black and white eyes stared straight at Lou Cheng as she expressed her own opinion.
Seeing that the girl was so insistent, and recalling that her grandfather's house was at Jiangnan—a place also most well- known for its taste in crabs—and not to mention that Lou Cheng wasn't the kind of person who impressed others by feigning to be more than he was, he nodded. "Alright, then we'll take the 199 yuan crabs then."
"Let's ask for four crabs for now. Didn't you say that we'll eat hotpot later on? Didn't you say that their handmade noodles are pretty great? It'll be boring if we just eat crabs for the whole day." Yan Zheke said seriously.
Lou Cheng gave it some thought and felt that it made a lot of sense. And so he said smilingly, "As I thought, Coach Yan's considerations are more comprehensive after all!"
"You got it~" Yan Zheke raised her chin. There was a smile between her eyebrows. They found a quiet place to sit and began babbling about all kinds of things as they normally did. It was as if they could never exhaust their subjects of conversation until the waiter brought them their sautéed crab.
A fragrant scent slipped into their noses, and Lou Cheng made a hand gesture for Yan Zheke to taste the crab ﬁrst.
The girl smilingly picked up a crab and bit it softly. Suddenly, he was a little worried that the crab might not be suitable for her tastes.
Yan Zheke sucked out the meat inside the crab's leg in familiar fashion before closing her eyes. With a smile, she said, "It tastes really good. The sweetness of the crab's meat isn't lost, and it's spicy in a way that really whets one's appetite.
Phew... Lou Cheng let out a sigh of relief as if he was the one who was praised by her. He chuckled and said, "Eat some more then." "Don't just watch, you're the main big eater who can eat ﬁve bowls of cooked rice." Yan Zheke joked with curved eyebrows.
When they were done sweeping through the sauteed spicy crab and new year cake, and were waiting for the hotpot to boil up, she asked with great interest, "Cheng, how are you planning to ﬁght tomorrow?"
Lou Cheng had thought about this a long while ago, and after deliberating for a moment he said,
"If Hongluo Martial Arts School paid any attention at all, they would not just set my name aside and not search for my information. That means they should understand how I ﬁght and know what I'm good at, except my supernatural Power of Blaze."
"Since this is an arena battle, naturally I'll be doing my best to win and not leave my trump card for the future. Therefore, the second the battle starts I'll use my Power of Blaze immediately, take down my opponent and open a path towards a swift victory..." "I'd lose the element of surprise when the second opponent arrives, so I'll ﬁrst pretend to wander around using mercurial balance. The moment I ﬁnd an opportunity, I'll immediately suppress them with the 24 Blizzard Strikes, not giving them the chance to unleash their explosive power at all..."
How could I not do my best when I'm ﬁghting an ofﬁcial contest before the girl I like?
Yan Zheke held her face with her left hand and listened to his words with great attention. There seemed to be a sparkle in her eyes.
After discussing how he was going to ﬁght for a bit and enjoying the hotpot, they footed the bill with a full belly. Since there was a discount, they spent a total of nine hundred yuan or so. Lou Cheng, who was 'rich and overbearing' after participating in the Warrior Sage Challenge Tournament did not feel any heartache after spending this much money at all. In fact, he even felt that the money was very much worth it, and it was acceptable as long as the girl was satisﬁed! After he got out of the store, Lou Cheng unconsciously coughed once before he said with feigned casualness,
"Let's walk around the shopping mall over there and digest the food a bit."
"Mm." Yan Zheke did not object to the suggestion.
The duo walked shoulder-to-shoulder, and the girl's near indiscernible scent slipped into the tip of Lou Cheng's nose again. it made him feel a sense of impulse and expectation once more.
He swiftly cast a glance at the girl and found that her hands were swaying slightly at the sides. She had not put her hands into her pockets probably because they had just ﬁnished eating a hotpot and feeling a little warm.
Thump thump thump. Lou Cheng heard the sound of his quickening heartbeat once more. Should I hold her hand for a bit?
She wasn't completely prepared, but didn't she say that she's a little attracted to me, and agreed to my confession? Holdings hands should be within permission, right?
Thump thump thump! Thump thump thump!
Lou Cheng felt like holding her hands, but he was afraid to do so. He was afraid that the girl would be unhappy, and that he would leave a bad impression in her heart.
Suddenly, he experienced a ﬂash of inspiration, and he recalled the method Cai Zongming taught him earlier!
Should I try that?
I'm just pretending to hold her hand, and not holding it after all! Thump thump thump! Thump thump thump!
This thought completely dominated all of his mind, and Lou Cheng could ﬁnally hold back his thoughts no longer. While he was still chatting idly with Yan Zheke, and while his eyes were staring straight at the front, his hands slowly, very slowly made its way to the side.
Thump thump thump! Thump thump thump! Although it was just fake hand holding, he still felt as if his heart was about to jump out of his chest. It was because he had no idea how the girl would react and feel about this.
It was because of the unknown outcome that made him nervous. It was because of its great importance that made him afraid!
Thump thump thump! Thump thump thump!
Lou Cheng gulped once with difﬁculty as his right hand somewhat stifﬂy and tremblingly made its way towards Yan Zheke's delicate hand. He touched the back of the girl's hand and just felt that her skin was soft, tender and slightly cool.
From the perception of his Listening Skill, he could hear Yan Zheke's left hand abruptly shrinking away from him. However, it had frozen the spot just as quickly and did not move away, maintaining a tiny and near indiscernible distance.
"Is this!?" Light seemed to descend inside Lou Cheng's head and cast away all the darkness in his mind. Not daring to look at Yan Zheke, he abruptly ﬂipped his palm over and grabbed her somewhat thin palm. His excitement, elation and nervousness had reached the absolute limits.
So Listening Skill could be used this way too...
The girl beside him kept her head low and counted the ants beneath her feet. Lou Cheng felt as if he was stepping on clouds as he held her soft and almost boneless hand. His head was only ﬁlled with the thoughts about the place where their skins were touching each other, and he had completely forgotten the time of day. Sweat was forming in his palm because of excitement and nervousness. He just wanted to hold Yan Zheke's like this and walk on forever, praying that there would never be an end to their journey.
He had no idea what kind of sceneries were around them, or what stores they just passed by.
He didn't know how much time had passed before Yan Zheke ﬁnally asked him a question with a softly spoken voice, "Where are we going?"
Lou Cheng let out a hiccup of bewilderment before he abruptly broke out of his trance. he looked at his surroundings with a dumb look on his face.
Where on earth have we walked to?
He explained in a somewhat panic voice, "I, I was too excited and nervous, and I didn't pay attention to the road..." And this is not to mention that my palm has gone all sweaty and wet. Yan Zheke must be hating this a lot... Great upset ﬁlled every corner of his heart.
Yan Zheke cast a sideward glance at him from the corner of her eyes before pursing her lips into a sudden smile. She withdrew her left arm and took down her backpack. She took out a napkin and passed it over to him. She said, smiling beautifully, "You didn't sweat as much even when you are ﬁghting in the Challenge Tournament..."
He accepted the napkin and wiped off the sweat on his right palm. Lou Cheng felt a wave of emptiness and loss overcoming him. He hadn't performed well enough today, and he might not have a chance to hold her hand any longer. He would have to wait until next time.
It was at this moment he felt a softness entering his palm suddenly. The girl's cool, left hand had entered his hand and gently grabbed the edges of his palm.
"This is!" Wild joy overcame Lou Cheng as he returned the hold strongly. When he lifted his head to look at Yan Zheke, he found her twisting her head to a side. The blush over her small and delicate ear was incredibly attractive, and the skin of her inclined face looked as smooth as a jade and as delicate as a ﬂower. A blush had appeared on her face which made his heart
pounded, and made her pretty as a peach.
Chapter 114: Secret Weapon
Lou Cheng felt like he would never forget the sight before his eyes. This girl's beautiful and embarrassed look had ﬁlled not only his eyes but also his mind.
While holding her delicate hand it felt so smooth he imagined that it could accidentally slip away from his grasp, he thought that he could say something to express the happiness and excitement in his heart. However, he intentionally held back this impulse. Yan Zheke had had to muster her courage and overcome her hesitation before she ﬁnally dared to hold his hand. It would be best if he gave her some quiet time to calm down. The more he spoke and confessed to her, the more pressure she would feel because of his actions. She might even become angry out of embarrassment.
There was a good saying by an elder—the silent toad catches the ﬂy!
"Let's head that way." Lou Cheng feigned nonchalance and pointed in a direction. His hand holding Yan Zheke's right hand had tightened though, gripping it tightly. "Mm." Yan Zheke responded with a voice that was as soft as a mosquito's.
With a happy look on his face, Lou Cheng led the way and did not look at Yan Zheke, giving her some time to adjust as well. Along the way, he felt as light as air as if he were becoming immortal, and there was this wonderful feeling that he was returning home with his wife.
The two didn't talk much when they arrived at the cake shop he had chosen. However, before they knew it, their ﬁngers had locked into one another's.
"This shop's fresh cream cake is pretty great. It's not too sweet, and it's not greasy either. I think it's pretty suitable for your taste. Would you like to take one back with you for breakfast tomorrow?" Lou Cheng pointed out the cake to Yan Zheke in an attempt to encourage her to go inside.
Yan Zheke's thin, yet supple, black eyebrows moved slightly as she asked in puzzlement, "How do you know that their fresh cream cake is pretty good?" "I..." Lou Cheng was going to say he had sampled their food before, but suddenly he had a feeling that he would be forcing the girl to feel touched if he did so. After she had made a move to hold his hand, any intent to go further than that might put pressure on her to the point of having the opposite desired effect. After all, she hadn't completely fallen for him yet, lowering the defenses inside her heart and fully accepting the fact that they were dating each other. If he forced too much it might very easily go awry. And so he paused and said, "I checked it out on the internet and just happened to see this."
"Checked it out on the internet..." Yan Zheke repeated it once in a low tone before lifting her head to look up at the shop sign
She seemed to be moved by Lou Cheng's descriptions and did not object to his suggestion. She walked cheerfully into the store, selected a cream cake for herself and bought ﬁve meat ﬂoss bread to go, for Lou Cheng. Previously, when they had chatted about light refreshments on QQ, Lou Cheng once mentioned that the bread he loved the most was meat ﬂoss bread. After he paid the bill, Lou Cheng feigned calmness and held the girl's hand once more, spreading his ﬁngers and making them intertwine with hers. It was only when Yan Zheke had returned the hold that he quietly let out an internal sigh of relief. While enjoying the wonderfulness of interlocked
ﬁngers, he chatted idly with the girl while carrying the cake and the bread, bringing her to another spot that he had planned.
"Are you tired from walking? The environment here looks pretty neat and clean. Should we go inside and have a seat?" After arriving at the spot, Lou Cheng pretended to observe the interior of a cafe before pointing at it and mentioning it. He then added, "A shop like this normally wouldn't just sell coffee."
Yan Zheke pursed her lips into a smile, her dimples vaguely appearing in her cheeks. She said, "And here I thought you would hold my hand and keep walking on forever..."
Her cheeks blushed slightly yet again when she mentioned the word 'hold'. She did her best to divert her attention away from the fact their skin was touching, and their ﬁngers were interlocked. Seeing that the girl had calmed down enough to poke fun at him made Lou Cheng even happier, and he even joked himself. "Do I look like such an inconsiderate person?"
"Who was the one that kept walking aimlessly?" The dimples on Yan Zheke's face deepened as she laughed softly while saying this, mercilessly exposing Lou Cheng's temporary loss of his soul earlier.
"Haha, I was too moved and excited..." Lou Cheng ﬁnally had the chance to voice his feelings out loud. At the same time, he pushed open the coffee shop's door and headed towards the quiet, sheltered table at the back.
When they arrived beside the four-seater table, he released Yan Zheke's smooth, delicate, hand and watched her slide into her seat. He felt a sense of loss as he felt the emptiness of his palm.
As Lou Cheng watched Yan Zheke sitting across from him and the empty seat beside her, an idea suddenly came to his mind. He said with a straight face, "Why don't you take the inner seat. We'll sit together and take a look at the other videos of Hongluo Martial Arts School. We can mull over them for a bit, I still need guidance from Coach Yan too!"
Thank you, master! Thank you, my friends at Hongluo Martial Arts School!
"So you still remember that I'm Coach Yan~~" Yan Zheke joked. After a moment's thought she decided that he was right and she stood up once more to move to the inner seat.
Lou Cheng hurriedly sat beside her and took the menu from the waiter, opening for Yan Zheke.
He did not show her anything in particular this time, because all of the milk tea in this cafe was relatively acceptable. Yan Zheke couldn't go wrong, no matter which ﬂavor she selected. As for the pastries, since she disliked those with chocolates or those that were extremely sweet, her scope of choice was naturally limited. 'Coincidentally,' he had tested every kind of pastry within her scope, and he conﬁrmed that their quality was all above standard! "I'll have a Hong Kong-style milk tea and a Chiffon cake..." Yan Zheke made her choice after mulling it over for a brief moment.
Lou Cheng also ordered a cup of Yuenyeung for himself before he found a cellphone prop, he then took out his cell phone and displayed the device on the table. His cell phone began to play the best of the best battle videos of the various ﬁghters in Hongluo Martial Arts School.
Seeing that Yan Zheke was watching the video intently, he slyly stretched out his right hand and grabbed the delicate palm she had laid on her thigh. He pulled her hand close to and placed it on top of his own thigh.
At ﬁrst, Yan Zheke was taken by surprise. Then she said with a touch of annoyance and amusement,
Be it sitting together to research battle videos, or asking for guidance from Coach Yan, they are both merely a pretext! "Mm-hmm, I'm paying attention." Lou Cheng's eyes were aimed straight at the phone's display, but his ﬁve ﬁngers were tightly interlocked with the girl's scallion-like ﬁngers, unwilling to give an inch. He caught a whiff of the faintly discernible scent that stirred his heart as it drifted past his nose.
Before they knew it two hours had passed while they were researching the videos, discussing the battles, occasionally straying off the topic, talking about nothing and watching some funny things. Their hands only parted one time when they had both gone to the lavatory.
As Lou Cheng recalled the various visions of Yan Zheke smiling or scolding lightly, he thought that even life as an immortal would not be better than this. Unfortunately, the time of this happiness was always brief, and night would ultimately arrive.
Suddenly, Yan Zheke noticed that the sky outside had already begun to darken. She hurriedly lit the screen of her cell phone and checked the time. With a slight surprise she said, "It's almost six... let's head back now, shall we?" "Do you want to eat dinner before we head back?" Lou Cheng hadn't checked just one delicacy shop, so he took the opportunity to suggest this.
Yan Zheke's eyes lifted once before she said charmingly, "Let's go back to the school to eat. I'll treat you in the cafeteria."
"Alright." Lou Cheng did not persist. One must know not to overdo things during a ﬁrst date.
When he closed the comedy video and started booking a car, Yan Zheke took another sip of her milk tea and said with satisfaction, "The milk tea in this cafe is pretty great. I didn't think a cafe you randomly picked would have such high standards. Your moral standing today is quite Okay, I see."
"Hehe, how could it possibly be random?" Lou Cheng thought complacently as he said with a smile, "No no no, it's all thanks to Coach Yan's moral standing. My moral standing has all but been used somewhere else." After he said this, he purposely swung their interlaced hands.
Yan Zheke's face blushed red as she pretended to spit and turned her head to the side.
They appeared to have forgotten to let go of each other's hands upon returning to the old school district. They just continued holding each other's hands and slowly walked across the road that was lined with maidenhair trees. They passed by the old and ancient-looking school building and they were immune to the gazes of onlookers by this point.
Once they had gotten on the bus, Lou Cheng noticed the vehicle had started to move after they had sat for a while, he was just about to speak when he noticed that Yan Zheke's eyes were drooping. Her long, black and dense eyelashes trembled slightly like a pair of small fans, and her head dipped occasionally. She had fallen asleep.
She had trained for four hours straight and then she came out for the date without taking an afternoon nap. They had been out until six in the evening, and her stamina wasn't as abnormal as his. It was no wonder that she would be feeling sleepy and tired... Lou Cheng felt tenderness for the girl as he watched her. He used Delicate Force on her hand that he was tightly holding to change the direction she was falling in and pulled her towards him without waking her. He allowed her to slowly and gradually lean against his shoulder.
At the same time, he used the muscles in his body to counter the movements of the bus. The second the vehicle ran into a rough patch on the road, he would add a counter force to Yan Zheke to cancel out the turbulence. He did his best to ensure that she slept peacefully and did not fall off of his shoulder.
Her beautiful forehead leaned against his shoulder, and a serene scent teased the tip of his nose. The girl's soft skin was right next to his head, and her soft and long breaths resounded around his ear. Peace, serenity, and happiness ﬁlled Lou Cheng's heart. He felt the girl's weight on his shoulders, and he also sensed the pressure of wanting to make her have a better life.
Perhaps this is what dad once meant by the responsibility of a man... After the vehicle had reached the new school district, Lou Cheng gave Yan Zheke a gentle push while laughing softly,
"Wake up, we're about to be late for the martial arts special training."
"Ah..." Yan Zheke's dark and beautiful eyes were ﬁlled with bewilderment. Her confused expression made Lou Cheng's heart tremble at the sight. When she was fully awake she let out an exclamation and said with a red face, "Turn your head away quickly, quickly! Don't move!"
Lou Cheng was puzzled, but he obediently looked to the corridor all the same. He heard the girl pulling on the zipper of her backpack, taking out a napkin she began wiping the elbow and shoulder area of his leather jacket repeatedly.
"So that's why..." He blurted out, but his words were interrupted vehemently by the girl before he could ﬁnish. "Haven't you ever seen someone drooling while they slept?! Humph!" "The Coach Yan, who drools while she sleeps, is so cute." Lou Cheng could not help but praise her from the bottom of his heart.
Yan Zheke pouted.
"I don't want to talk with you anymore!"
Lou Cheng was all smiles as he pulled the 'angry' girl down the bus aisle. All the way he kept an eye on the girl's reactions, ready to let go of her hand obediently if she wasn't ready to hold hands in the school district where there were more familiar faces around. However, other than a bright red face, Yan Zheke showed no signs of withdrawing her hand.
When they entered the cafeteria, Yan Zheke brought him to the rice window ﬁrst, she took out her meal card and said,
"Rice worth 2.30 yuan, please." The rice-serving worker glanced at the two of them in astonishment. He seemed to be checking if they were asking for a group of people so he could conﬁrm how many bowls he needed for preparing the rice.
Yan Zheke said innocently, "The guy beside me is a glutton who is good at eating. Even without dishes, he could eat rice worth 2 yuan!"
Pft... Lou Cheng nearly burst out laughing.
Did you just attribute your appetite for rice to me?
"He doesn't look like it." The rice-server sighed.
Yan Zheke snickered upon hearing this and she cast a sideways glance at Lou Cheng. Some traces of playfulness ﬂowed from her eyes. Lou Cheng simply thought that Yan Zheke was a feast for his eyes and he felt like just sitting there and watching her. He did not even desire to eat his rice anymore.
Their dinner had lasted for a very long time, and the two of them reluctantly made their way to the entrance of the Third Dormitory Building where Yan Zheke stayed.
Yan Zheke covered her mouth as she broke into a yawn. She wore a light smile while she said, "I feel so tired from skipping my afternoon nap."
"Go on and get to your bedroom then. Wash up and lie down. I know you're tired, you need to get some sleep." Lou Cheng said with concern.
Yan Zheke nodded obediently. Then, she suddenly put on a deadpan expression and talked like an old mum,
"You should get some rest soon after you return to your room. Don't just research battle videos all the time. You have to strike a balance between work and rest so that you won't feel tired tomorrow, got it?"
Her words warmed Lou Cheng's heart and he teased. "Got it, Coach Yan!"
Yan Zheke nearly broke into laughter as she pursed her lips and waved good bye.
"See you tomorrow, Cheng."
Lou Cheng mimicked her usual tone and said seriously,
"See you everyday!"
When she heard this, Yan Zheke covered her mouth and smiled softly. She turned around and took two steps, but came to a stop again. Turning her head she smiled at him timidly, expressing slight embarrassment. "Cheng, I, I am very happy today."
After she said this, she half ran into the dormitory, like an agile rabbit, without waiting for Lou Cheng's reply. It was only when she approached the unit's entrance that she slowed and turned around to glance at Lou Cheng, where she found him still staring at her like a fool. She gave him a bright smile.
When Yan Zheke's back ﬁnally disappeared into the passage, Lou Cheng ﬁnally smiled gently and said to himself in a soft voice,
"I'm very happy too, one hundred times happier than usual..."
In a certain room on the second ﬂoor of Hongluo Martial Arts School, the schoolmaster Wang Hui, whose white hair had a few lines of silver in it, asked the three men beside him, "Have you found any data on Songcheng University Martial Arts Club's Lou Cheng? The one without a rank."
Jiang Guosheng had practiced martial arts for many years, and the environment and his self-cultivation had improved his temperament. He possessed some masculinity even though his countenance was relatively average. Seated properly on his knees, he said, "We've investigated him. He's not your average person. He once participated in the Phoenix Cup Warrior Sage Candidate Challenge Tournament and fought his way into the top eight. He was able to beat a Professional Ninth Pin although he had just practiced martial arts for only half a year. This's proof of his talent and strength. Although he isn't stronger than Lin Que right now, he's deﬁnitely not someone to be underestimated."
Wang Hui nodded slightly and smiled at another man.
Cheng Yun. You have met your match. Songcheng is very big, but it's also very small. There're only so many youngsters with potential if you think about it carefully." Jiang Guosheng also followed his gaze and looked at the young man with stern eyes.
This was the last disciple his master took in after turning down other candidates for many years due to his reluctance to see talent slip by. Pan Chengyun was just twenty years old, and he had only been practicing martial arts for a little over two years. For a while now he had been an Amateur First Pin, but based on the usual sparring exercises he conducted, he believed that he already was at the level of Professional Ninth Pin. The only thing left for him to prove it was the Ranking Event.
He was his martial arts school's secret weapon for the preliminaries. He would give Songcheng University Martial Arts Club a 'pleasant surprise'.
A team with three Professional Ninth Pin ﬁghters was strong enough to ﬁght for a division's quota!
Pan Chengyun said as cold as ice, "I've seen his match videos, and his weaknesses are as obvious as his strong points. He's the kind of ﬁghter who can take out a Professional Ninth Pin, if he does well, but would lose even to an Amateur First or Second Pin, if he is properly countered."
"I'm conﬁdent enough that I can beat him."
Chapter 115: Business
After Pan Chengyun ﬁnished what he was saying, Wang Hui nodded slightly and said noncommittally,
"Conﬁdence is a good thing."
He said as he turned around and looked at Fang Tong, "But too much conﬁdence is a bad thing. You must be prudent and not arrogant in your competition tomorrow."
Fang Tong's hair was combed straight up looking wanton and arrogant. His angular face made him an imposing ﬁgure and even playing children would quiet when they saw him. Without expression he replied,
Seeing his attitude, Wang Hui quietly sighed. This disciple was good, at everything, but he was also too impatient and anxious. This meant, there was no way for him to attain a united form of strength, and while he was capable of releasing energy, he was not able to withdraw it. Even though he was only one step away from Dan stage, in three years, he wasn't able to improve. This had dropped him from the status of a slightly reputable genius ﬁghter in Songcheng to an after tea joke at other martial arts schools.
They could only hope that Cheng Yun's rapid improvement would put pressure on him and he would shake off his arrogance and impatience...
While looking around, Wang Hui told Pan Chengyun,
"You have not participated in the last three months and those three months were when you would have progressed the quickest. Your enemy certainly can't touch your bottom line, and will still treat you as a ﬁghter of Amateur First Pin. But, you mustn't be careless. Usually, practices with Guosheng and Fang Tong are different from an arena battle. You have to adapt to the changes and master your new strength, just in case, the difference throws you off."
Finishing, before Pan Chengyun could answer, he replied with emotion, "This is an excellent opportunity for our martial arts school.
You have to go all out in the ﬁghts for the fame."
And fame equals money!
Through underground gang connections, the martial arts school received beneﬁts. In a larger city, the connections are hidden and harder to ﬁnd.
Because of the attention of the public, the focus of the media, and the involvement of the government, all aspects of the Songcheng was more standardized and legal when compared to the small cities. Many martial arts clubs wouldn't dare to waste their own staff, so they made their fortune by exploiting their wealthy students.
With out a good reputation for fame, it would be hard to recruit disciples, and after many years they would shut down, or have to take a risk.
In addition, talented and high-quality disciples are sought after to produce a reputation of fame. Without the reputation for fame, no one will choose your martial arts studio for an apprenticeship.
In today's society, the creation of a warrior is actually established in two major steps. The ﬁrst is at their primary school graduation when a child begins to develop physically. This is when they can begin practicing martial arts and go through a uniﬁed test. The test would identify the speciﬁc martial arts specialization they would be placed in. The second part is normal schooling, which every person should receive to run a society. People of all talents are needed, not just warriors and some jobs are considered more important, like a scientist's.
After the evaluation, unless the family is wealthy and able to pay the high fees related to practicing martial arts, most of the students give up practicing. They look for other activities to spend their energy on. This is why Lou Cheng hadn't met many martial arts ﬁghters and the ones he did were mostly amateurs.
Most of the martial arts schools were established by the state, where they could pull resources to ﬁll their organizational needs. These state run schools create an assembly line of ﬁghters to ﬁll the military forces and the police department. In light of this, the Shangqing Sect, Longhu Club, and other forces had also opened their own martial arts school. They did this to cultivate a large number of disciples, by creating a reputation. For example, Jin Tao of the "Invincible Punch" was a student from the Jiuqu Branch of Haiyuan Martial Arts School.
However, even though there are lots of martial arts school, when compared to the number of suitable students, there were not enough. The schools would only take students on merit, so it appeared talent driven and some of the students were "late bloomers." Maybe around fourteen or ﬁfteen years old and even some as late as seventeen or eighteen would slowly start to show their talents. So, the martial arts school took this second opportunity to conduct another exam.
The form of martial arts club in cultivating a large number of ﬁghters was lagged. But if only a few like a dozen disciples could take the elite education, it was the same as the martial arts master's transmission, which was better than the martial arts school. And therefore it built a lot of illustrious famous experts. So many young people carrying dreams, who could not enter the major martial arts forces, would abandon the martial arts school and take the embassy of the martial arts club. So, the martial arts club regarded talented disciples as the core, and even began to pay the disciples of Amateur First Pin a certain salary to maintain their own strength. And then through advertising, trials, and local challenge tournaments, etc. to gain fame, they attracted external hobbies and wealthy disciples, which could not only get the money, but also might pick out talented people buried by a variety of reasons, develop their social relationships and get other opportunities to make money.
They spoke of martial arts, but it was actually a business.
And as a business, it would be weird if they were not enthusiastic about the local and peripheral television broadcast preliminaries!
Who did not like free "ads"?
Humming pop songs, Lou Cheng went back to the dormitory. With the same beautiful feeling brought by drinking some wine, he felt that everything was very good. He couldn't wait for everyone to have the same happiness as his own.
He knocked on the next door, with no surprise to see the rich kid Qin Mo and his girlfriend Mu Yuanxing not being there. The "game fantastic" Tang Wen was diligent with his study. Last time he was so addicted to playing games to forget the date when he should take the exam nearly. If people around were not in the same class to take the exam, he would have deﬁnitely failed the exam for this ridiculous reason. Of course, no doubt, he still failed in three subjects. Now he was preparing for school examinations again, or he would have to rebuild. So he gave up games for a while.
"Where is Mouth King?" Lou Cheng asked.
Tang Wen was absorbed in books. He carefully recalled and said, "He went to the balcony to call his girlfriend."
"Oh." Lou Cheng calmed down, vaguely hearing a voice from the balcony. Saying thanks, he closed the dormitory door not to disturb Tang Wen. When he was about to return to his own small dormitory, he saw the balcony glass door opening. Cai Zongming came in with a smile.
"Damn the weather! Making a phone call can freeze you!" Little Ming breathed out white air when he closed the door.
Lou Cheng laughed. "Why don't you video chat in the bedroom?"
"Someone is in the bedroom, so some private words are not convenient to say, you know." Cai Zongming deliberately rose his brow.
"You dirty guy!" Lou Cheng scolded, with a humorous tone.
"Pooh! You are the dirty guy! I mean nauseating love words. What did you think of? Recently fallen in love, blood calls?" Cai Zongming scolded Lou Cheng badly but in a good way. Lou Cheng clicked his tongue and said, "Are your love words clean? Old hand!"
He then checked his surroundings, and said softly, "Casanova, you tell me if there is any problem..."
He said all the things of Yan Zheke's reactions in their ﬁrst date, and ﬁnally said, "Will this seem disrespectful of her thoughts, too reckless?"
Cai Zongming replied with a laugh, "Darn your indiscriminate love! You wouldn't have any of these questions, if you followed my steps. But you did a good job today. You can't let girls lead you in this case. You go fast!"
"Really?" Lou Cheng got into a serious student attitude.
Cai Zongming grinned, "Your Goddess is now in a state like standing on the swamp. There are full of temptations in the world of love below. It's difﬁcult to resist, but give up resistance, and slowly sink. She has not adjusted the mind yet, so she slows this speed and adapts this gradually. If you pull too fast and make her sink too fast, out of fear, uncertainty, or inadequate love, it really will cause a rebellious sense and may let her start to hate you."
"But you can't do nothing, let her make her own mentality. Only ghost knows what adjustments she'll make, maybe good, maybe not. Furthermore, when it takes longer, the feelings of the impact will get weak. She's going to calm down and start over again. If you think about enhancing the good impression then, it'll be Half the Results for Twice the Effort and she might say that she doesn't think you are the ones for each other and should better break up."
"So you have to seize the current state of warmth, limit the distance, and enhance a good impression, which is the meaning of hot ironsmith. You can't really do not get close when girls say so. Sometimes they themselves don't know if they want it or not."
Lou Cheng had the feeling of reading for ten years. He sincerely nodded. "No wonder you are Casanova..." Cai Zongming said with smiling, "To answer the confession is to determine the relationship, and to determine the relationship is equal to holding the hand. For this, she'll not be too resistant. She should have some psychological preparation. But don't go further. Don't give her pressure which causes rebellion. Keep the trend, step by step with the affectionate, and slowly pull her over. Hey, even I am jealous!"
"Unfortunately, you have no time to go to the Capital." Lou Cheng glared at Little Ming with pity.
Cai Zongming clicked his tongue and said, "I can't go, but she can come! I have succeeded to confuse her. This time I don't have to save money. The lucky money is big! "
"Cool!" Giving a thumbs up, Lou Cheng said,
"Right, are you ready for tomorrow competition" As a member of the special training, Cai Zongming cared about this.
Lou Cheng nodded with a smile and said, "Almost, I'll think through it again." "I'll help you ﬁnd the audience." Laughing badly, Cai Zongming suddenly went outside, unscrewed the door, and said to Zhao Qiang, Qiu Zhigao and Zhang Jingye who were relaxing at home on weekends, "Good news! Good news! Cheng will represent our Songcheng University to participate in the
competition tomorrow. Let's go to cheer him up!"
"On behalf of Songcheng University? Cheng?" Zhao Qiang stunned, and then pushed his black box glasses.
"Martial Arts Competition?" Qiu Zhigao surprisedly turned his head.
Only Zhang Jingye looked dumb, like he didn't seem to understand.
Cai Zongming grinned. "Yes, Martial Arts Competition. Didn't Coach Shi organize to participate in the preliminaries of the team? Cheng is the leading player. Tomorrow, he'll compete with Hongluo Martial Arts School of Songcheng." Qiu Zhigao did not take the ﬁrst three martial arts lessons because of his own arrangements, so he didn't know anything about this. He suddenly stood up, surprisedly and shockedly staring at Lou Cheng who was behind Cai Zongming. "Are you the leading player?"
Is this a little unscientiﬁc? No, not a little, it is too unscientiﬁc!
Lou Cheng didn't have to explain. Cai Zongming smiled and said, "Cheng is recognized as a genius in martial arts, and now he is of Professional Ninth Pin. That day he fought so badly with Lin Que. He lost by one step."
"Professional Ninth Pin..." Qiu Zhigao breathed in.
For the difﬁculty of enhancing the rank, he had a profound experience.
A new with no rank to being of Professional Ninth Pin actually only spent half a year! "A genius in martial arts?" Zhao Qiang looked at Lou Cheng up and down, like wanting to see ﬂowers out from him. "You don't know yourself before?"
"Well, I did not get in touch with the martial arts before, and Coach Shi is very professional." Lou Cheng said casually.
Zhao Qiang exclaimed. "Human, of course, rely on self- struggle, but also have to consider the process of the history..."
"The competition is at three o'clock tomorrow afternoon. Are you coming?" Cai Zongming asked again.
"Of course, I'm going! Why not? An expert from our dormitory! It's so cool to say!" Qiu Zhigao came over with excitement and coax.
Zhang Jingye hesitated and stammered. "Can I take someone else?" "Whom?" Zhao Qiang asked with bewilderment.
Cai Zongming cackled and said, "Model Worker, I can't see huh. You get a girlfriend in silence?"
"Haha, almost." Zhang Jingye smiled simply.
"Sh*t..." Zhao Qiang blurted out, pointing to Zhang Jingye. "I ﬁgured out the dog not barking bites hard. When did you get a girlfriend?"
Lou Cheng also had a burst of admiration. He spent so much time and effort to catch Yan Zheke, but Zhang Jingye suddenly got a girlfriend!
"Oh, last term, when I came back, I met a bunch of students in the art school making micro-video. Due to curiosity, I watched for a while. They invited me to do the extras, so I met one of the girls, and then we got familiar..." Zhang Jingye simply said. After everyone sighed, Zhao Qiang seriously said, "Model Worker, you have to learn even though you have a girlfriend. You can't indulge in beauty. Right, when do they make the next micro-video?"
Puff! Everyone laughed together, and the atmosphere became quite warm.
Yan Zheke ﬁnished washing and climbed to her own small bed, leaning on the minion. Covered in the quilt, she unlocked the phone.
Her smile consciously appeared. She was waiting to use QQ to send Lou Cheng a message. Suddenly she remembered a matter, so she clicked the browser, and got into the search page.
"Meimei bread..." She entered the name of the cake shop. She would like to see if the comments of fresh cream cake were as good as Lou Cheng said. During a blink of an eye, the search results came out, but Yan Zheke got confused.
Because there were no search results of Meimei Bakery, but only related adjectives.
"Online search..." Yan Zheke got an idea. She seemed to understand something. Getting out of the quilt, she climbed down and tasted the fresh cream cake on the desk.
"Not too sweet, just as well..." Yan Zheke sat there. Her left hand was gently hanging around the hair. Her right hand was holding a spoon, unconsciously shaking. There were two sugar plums around her mouth. Her eyes were staring at the cake, with the tender that couldn't be spoken.
Chapter 116: We Cannot Lose
On the next day, after he was done with morning exercise, Lou Cheng went straight to the cafeteria while drinking his soy milk and ﬁnished his meat ﬂoss bread in one go. He felt extraordinarily satisﬁed and had the feeling that he was enjoying a lunch box made of love.
Stepping into the martial arts club, he was just looking at the scattered crowd before his brain automatically picked out Yan Zheke's ﬁgure from them. The girl just happened to look towards his direction too, and when their eyes met they smiled warmly and sweetly at each other.
Yan Zheke bit her bottom lip softly with her teeth, and she opened the pocket button on her martial arts suit and took out her cell phone. She lowered her head, combed through her hair and typed quickly over the phone for a brief moment.
"Di..." The beep of a QQ message came from Lou Cheng's pockets, and as if realizing something he took out his phone with a smile on his face. When he unlocked his phone and took a look, he discovered that it was sent by the girl as he had expected. "The fresh cream cake was delicious," Yan Zheke said.
"As long as you're satisﬁed." Lou Cheng was ﬁlled with a sense of accomplishment. "The meat ﬂoss bread you selected is perfect too!"
Yan Zheke used a "panda scratching its head" emoji and said, "The only problem is that I had to brush my teeth one more time!"
"Why do you need to brush your teeth one more time?" Lou Cheng sent her a "bewildered and confused" emoji.
"Guess~~ I'm going to put my stuff now!" Yan Zheke closed her cell phone, looked with curved eyes and a faint smile on her face before heading into the female locker room along with Guo Qing. She was going to lock her cell phone, other items she carried with her, and spare clothes into her locker.
"Guess? Could it be that she had to brush her teeth a second time because she ate too many sweets? Or did she eat some after she brushed her teeth last night because she failed to resist temptation? But she hadn't brought this up while we were chatting that time..." Lou Cheng stepped into the male's locker room while he was using his imagination.
Since they had a match later this afternoon, the level of intensity of today's special training was reduced, with a focus on maintaining their form. In fact, pair exercise was canceled in the end.
Geezer Shi gathered all members at one spot, curled his lips and said, "Songcheng University seriously is stingy, giving such a small amount of subsidy. A better martial arts school would have nurtured sparring partners of all styles so that the participants could undergo targeted training before a match. We though, hehe, could only rely on our mouths!"
If the Martial Arts Club's members were to act as sparring partners, the effects of a targeted training would be lost because the characteristics of their kungfu were similar to each other.
"If only there is a supernatural ability that could create a corresponding battle ﬁgure just through verbalization..." Cai Zongming muttered in a small voice.
Lou Cheng cast a glance at him and ridiculed him with a soft laugh. "If there is such a thing then you would be amazing. The Talker has arrived, and then who dares stand against the Talker!?"
"Unfortunately, God did not give me this chance." Cai Zongming sighed with relative regret.
Geezer Shi coughed twice and said, "The kids who aren't leading players and substitutes of the preliminaries may leave now. Those who are willing to watch the match may wait by the bus station at one thirty. Li Xiaowen, we'll not have any audience since we are ﬁghting away, so you don't have to organize a cheerleading team. You'll help to get the logistics prepared."
After Yan Zheke had been promoted to a preliminary substitute, the cheerleading team she used to lead was passed on to her senior female schoolmate Li Xiaowen. When the other special training members had left, Geezer Shi ﬁnally said, "You have all seen the data and videos related to Hongluo Martial Arts School, haven't you? I'll brieﬂy explain things and analyze their ﬁghting style so that you all have something to mull over on your own along the way."
Normally speaking, while targeted training would usually be performed based on the opponents two or three days before a match, speciﬁc ﬁghting arrangements would only be put in order inside the locker room before the match. This was to prevent a spy inside the team from selling intel to the enemy and cause them to fall under the control of the enemy. The higher the level of competition was, the stricter security in this regard became. However, the ﬁrst stage of the preliminaries and competition at this level was the equivalent of nothing in Geezer Shi's eyes at all, and he did not think that Hongluo Martial Arts School would make a big fuss over such a minor competition either. Therefore, he had made his explanation ahead of time so that these young and inexperienced kids would have sufﬁcient time to digest his words.
After seeing that everyone's attention was focused on him, he chuckled and said, "That is all there is to Hongluo Martial Arts School, so you lot don't have to worry too much. Follow this old man's instructions, and your chances of victory will be pretty huge. You have all watched the videos already. Hongluo Martial Arts School's ﬁghting style is an evolution of the 'Unique Skill of Fire Sect' called 'Fire-like Invasion Move.' It emphasizes on aggressiveness and explosive power."
"At the max, their explosive power may very well equal the full powered strike of a seventh to eighth Pin Dan stage martial artist. However, this level of eruption wasn't something that could state of mind anytime they wanted to. They had to adjust their states bit by bit and receive feedbacks again and again so that their bodies could gradually compress and store energy like a spring."
"Therefore, the heart of this ﬁghting style was to use small bursts of power to push even greater levels of bursts of power, accumulating power steadily until they reached their limits. Normally speaking, the ninth strike after eight pushes would pretty much sweep anyone beneath Dan stage. However, they are humans and not living immortals. Their strength would more or less be exhausted after a round of eruption. Taking the burning ﬁre as an example, a ﬁre would continuously ignite the things around it and grow ﬁercer and ﬁercer with each passing time. Once everything around it had been burned to ashes, the ﬁre itself would become extinguished."
"In this regard, this is a ﬁghting style that is very suitable for life and death ﬁghting. The victory would normally be decided within just a few moves."
"Now that we've analyzed up to this point, some of you must be thinking: in this case then let's just stretch out the battle and delay until they've exhausted themselves. However, unless the martial artist who chooses to ﬁght this way have the exceptional agility and is extremely well versed in hit-and-run tactics, they would quickly ﬁnd their zone of activity compressed to a point where they could not escape by the time the people of Hongluo Martial Arts School had erupted a few times and displayed terrifying levels of speed and agility."
Lou Cheng nodded indiscernibly at the coach's words. He knew this very well from experience. During the ﬁght against Ye Youting and the ﬁght against the Dark Sect's Ninth Pin, he had attempted to stretch out the ﬁght using mercurial balance. However, he was either quickly forced into a head on clash, or given no chance to stretch out the ﬁght at all. Geezer Shi coughed a few times and reached the main point of the explanation. "The best way to deal with this ﬁghting style is to clash against them directly, disrupting their burst rhythm and suppressing their aggressiveness so that their eruptions will grow more and more dissatisfactory..."
He began talking in detail how to disrupt the enemy's rhythm and suppress their aggressiveness. Lou Cheng and the others listened with great interest, and before they knew it it was already noon.
After eating lunch and resting for a brief moment, Lou Cheng arrived on time at the bus station and got on the school bus the logistics of the club had purposely prepared.
Because Yan Zheke was shy and wasn't brave enough to sit next to him with so many familiar faces around them, she pulled Guo Qing with her and found a pair of seat for themselves. Lou Cheng had no choice but to sit together with student Little Ming at the seat behind them.
He didn't speak much along the way, and had started to adjust his form and state of mind. He had only opened his eyes only after they were about to arrive.
"Ay, Cheng, Qiang and the others had quite the luck with women..." Cai Zongming smartly decided against voicing his words and instead typed it on his phone and sent it through QQ to Lou Cheng.
Lou Cheng replied in surprise, "Why is that?"
"Model Worker was going to ask his girlfriend out only, but it was found out by the girls in his girlfriend's bedroom. They were very interested in the match and wanted to come and take a look too. They would be joining Qiang and Old Qiu and depart together later." Cai Zongming sent the message while looking at Lou Cheng with a sneaky expression.
"That's great. What a pleasant surprise!" Lou Cheng replied swiftly before stufﬁng his phone into his pocket, getting ready to stand up. They had already arrived at their destination!
Hongluo Martial Arts School was situated at the bottom of a large building where it was quiet amidst a noisy environment. The environment was pretty good.
Lou Cheng observed the situation carefully and waited until Guo Qing entered the corridor. Only then he abruptly stood up, pushed his way forwards and stuck close to Yan Zheke following behind her just in time.
He "casually" looked towards the front, stretched out his hand and pulled the girl's tender hand.
At ﬁrst, Yan Zheke was surprised. Then, she looked at Lou Cheng and saw the faint trace of a smile vaguely tugging at the corners of his mouth. He turned around and blinked at her.
She was both annoyed and amused by this, blushing slightly in the face. Pretending that nothing had happened just now, she returned the grip before hurriedly pulling back her hand. After observing her surroundings and discovering that no one had noticed the gesture, she then experienced a wave of indescribable happiness. Lou Cheng, who was equally happy and ﬁlled with strength followed his team and stepped through the main entrance of Hongluo Martial Arts School.
Naturally, this martial arts school was incomparable to Songcheng University Martial Arts Club's arena. It was only about the size of two classrooms, not to mention some spaces were used as locker rooms, strength training rooms and so on. It was sufﬁcient for teaching and practicing martial arts, but it was seriously cramped for a preliminaries' match.
Right now, the limestone ground at the center of the martial arts school was present to act as the arena. Tatamis were laid out around the arena so that audiences could sit down and watch the match. Corridors were left out on all sides, and the place had a vague Japanese style to them.
"Thank goodness there aren't many audiences, or how on earth are we going to ﬁt in such a small place..." Cai Zongming clicked his tongue and said.
He was not fated to enter the locker room, so after ﬁnding the tatamis arranged for the away team he took off his shoes and sat on his knees.
Not far away beside him, Shu Rui led the team and nervously but orderly lay out the arrangements for live broadcast.
After the preliminaries schedule had been announced on Friday, the ﬁrst thing Songcheng's television station needed to conﬁrm was which matches they should do a live broadcast, and which matches they should do recording broadcast.
This was nothing worthy of consideration for the other television stations of other cities. This was because there were only so many teams who participated in the competition, not to mention that the match times might not even clash with each other. On the other hand, as the provincial capital Songcheng attracted a lot of talents, and there were at least twenty teams who registered and participated in the preliminaries. The selection of teams alone would dazzle one's eyes.
For a television station at this level, competitions of lower professional ranking were in fact more welcomed. For the audiences, the professional martial practitioners at the bottom three ranks were relatable and not too inhuman even though they weren't strong enough. Every battle was very intense, and every blow threw in a match this level struck ﬂesh. It could incite the passion in the audiences' heart. Naturally, the decision to do live or recorded broadcast must be deliberated carefully.
As the reporter who chased mainly the news related to martial arts, Shu Rui had participated in the meeting and voiced out her own opinions. She said that Songcheng University Martial Arts Club's Lou Cheng and Lin Que were very much great subjects of gossip and suited for live broadcast. In the end, the leader of the television station had accepted her plans.
Right now, Shu Rui very much had the impulse to interview Lin Que and Lou Cheng for a while after seeing them walking into the martial arts school. However, the rules stated that they could not come in contact with the ﬁghters half a day before the match to avoid affecting their state of the mind. They could only be interviewed after the match.
Lou Cheng and the others entered straight into the locker room. Inside the partitioned area, they changed into their white martial arts suit with black borders and returned to Geezer Shi's side once more.
"I've said everything that needs to be said, and I have nothing else to add. Take the time to rest and recuperate your spirits." Geezer Shi coughed and made them ﬁnd their respective seats and hone their strengths.
At two ﬁfty, inside Hongluo Martial Arts School's locker room.
Wang Hui looked at Jiang Guosheng, Fang Tong and Pan Chengyun all with a different expression on their faces and smiled slightly, saying,
"Chengyun, you'll enter last and give them a pleasant surprise. That being said you may not need to show up, so if that's the case then we'll leave the pleasant surprise to the future." "Fang Tong, you'll be the vanguard and ﬁght to obtain an immediate victory."
"Guosheng, you'll enter the arena second. You bear a heavy responsibility in case anything happens. You must stabilize the situation."
"Yes, master (grandmaster)!" all three Professional Ninth Pins answered in unison.
Wang Hui nodded in satisfaction and pointed outside the locker room, declaring loudly.
"Go out there and show them your strength and bearing!"
At Songcheng University Martial Arts Club's side, Geezer Shi clapped his hand and awakened the crowd who were quietly practicing pranayama. With a rare, serious smile, he said, "First battle, Lou Cheng."
"I'm the ﬁrst..." Not only Lou Cheng wasn't anxious, he felt a shiver that came with excitement. He sneaked a glance at Yan Zheke and found her looking at him as well. She gave him a pumping hand gesture.
Geezer Shi continued to speak, "Lou Cheng, you'll enter the arena ﬁrst and feel out their depths. Do not worry if they really have something wicked up their sleeves. You have Lin Que behind you."
"Lin Que, you'll watch the battle closely and know what's going on by heart. Sun Jian, you'll enter last. Who knows, maybe you'll be able to take advantage of their exhaustion."
"Alright, let's head out, everyone."
Lou Cheng and the others glanced at each other's eyes once. No one purposely organized it, and no one took the lead. Suddenly, they opened their mouths in mutual understanding and shouted out in unison, "We cannot lose!"
After they were done the shouting, Lou Cheng took the lead and entered the stage.
What greeted them were the audiences seated on the tatamis, the arranged cameras, and the enemy who walked out from the opposite locker room.
Chapter 117: The Depressed Caster
It was Sunday afternoon, and Yan Xiaoling was still clinging to her bed. However, she had switched to a leaning posture with her laptop placed on top of her thighs.
"Fanfan, Fanfan, you are sure it's available?" She cast a glance at her laptop, holding her cell phone and swiftly sending a message to Brahman.
"Brahman" sent an "absolutely comical" emoji and replied, "In any case that 'Lush Gives Birth To Light' sent a post just now and said that there is a live stream on 'Qidao Video Site,' and that the site had bought the rights from Songcheng television station. She already managed to acquire the preview earlier, so she wouldn't make a mistake about something so trivial, would she? I'm so annoyed! The website is laggy, and the internet speed is so slow! The stream still hasn't fully buffered yet!"
After listening to Brahman's words, Yan Xiaoling who had just woken up during afternoon continued to search for the live stream at "Qidao Video Site" with a dumb look on her face. A few minutes later, she ﬁnally found the phrase "Hong Luo Martial Arts School VS Songcheng University Martial Arts Club" at the corner of the 'preliminaries' subpage. There were even two channels consisting of the television station's caster and the website's caster setup at the side.
Yan Xiaoling's hand glided, and she selected "Home Website Casting." After a period of buffering that was long enough to drive people crazy, she ﬁnally saw the tatami covered ground of the martial arts school. She saw group belonging to Songcheng University Martial Arts Club ﬁling out in a line and sitting on their knees on the tatamis. She saw that the leader of the line was Lou Cheng.
The broadcast rights of the ﬁrst stage of the preliminaries had been sold to the television stations of each division by the organizational committee, whereas the television stations had recouped a portion of their capital from the streaming websites. The cash ﬂowing into the committee's pocket would ultimately become the competing ﬁghter's insurance fee, match transportation fee and the bonus of the broadcast of the division's top eight matches.
Since there were no registration restrictions, there was no way a participant was given bonuses the moment they participated in the match. Most of those kinds of participants were only masquerading as having abilities so they could scam some funds for themselves. Only those teams who had gone through seven or eight matches and arrived to become the top eight team of the division would have the qualiﬁcation to proﬁt from the preliminaries.
"Heya, there actually is a stream!" Yan Xiaoling happily sent a message to "Brahman".
"Brahman" quickly replied, "I saw it too. Our idol is looking more and more of a model example! Ayayayaya, I'm posting the link to Longhu Club forum and show it to those people!"
The two girls busied themselves respectively for a while before watching the live stream once more with slight trepidation and excitement. They waited single-mindedly for the competition to start.
Deng deng deng. Two minutes before 3 p.m., Zhao Qiang, Qiu Zhigao and Zhang Jingye ﬁnally defeated the Sunday jam and made their way to Hongluo Martial Arts School in time. Four girls who were relatively student-like but dressed very fashionably followed behind them.
After looking around the whole venue once, Zhao Qiang saw Cai Zongming and pointed at him joyfully, saying,
"We'll go there!"
The "spectator seats" provided for the away team were sparse, and seats had an ample amount of space too. Cai Zongming greeted them cordially and helped arrange for the girls to take their seats. He secretly complained to Zhao Qiang and Qiu Zhigao,
The aesthetic judgment of the arts institute truly is different from us ordinary people. Shouldn't they be wearing clothes that accentuated their youthfulness and student identities as ﬁtting of their age? Aren't they dressed a little too maturely? Are they seriously afraid that they won't have the chance to wear these a few years later?" Zhao Qiang sneaked two glances at the girls before smiling reservedly,
"I thought it looks pretty good."
The sunlight from outside the window reﬂected off his black framed spectacles.
Cai Zongming chuckled and did not say anything more. This was because the match was about to begin.
After they had all taken their respective seats, the girl sitting close to Zhang Jingye then pulled his sleeves and asked smilingly, "Who was that awesome roommate you told me about?"
This girl had a cute and likable round face. She had put on a little bit of foundation and worn a light pink overcoat that was less mature-looking. She was none other than Zhang Jingye quasi-girlfriend, Wu Qian of the arts institute. The other three girls also looked curiously at Zhang Jingye after hearing her question, looking forward to the answer. This was the ﬁrst time in their lives they had a friend that could appear live on television—the friend of a friend of a friend, that was.
Zhang Jingye pointed at Lou Cheng sitting on his knees in the ﬁrst row of the away team's tatami,
"That guy. Do you see him? The guy furthest to the left and looking pretty spirited..."
Wu Qian stretched her neck and giggled.
"I saw him. He looks pretty classy."
Just when the other three girls were about to say something, they saw the referee dressed in black walking to the center of the limestone ground and declaring in a loud voice, "Round one between Hongluo Martial Arts School and Songcheng University Martial Arts Club..."
"Fang Tong versus Lou Cheng!"
Enthusiastic claps and shouts resounded from the surroundings the second the referee ﬁnished making his announcement. Although there weren't many audiences, they were all groups of families and friends, so they naturally went out of their way to cheer for the participants as much as possible.
Lou Cheng slowly stood up as the cries of "Hong Luo will win" and "Fang Tong cannot fail" resounded in his ears. He ﬁrst turned his head sideways to look at Yan Zheke, not trying to conceal his actions at all.
Yan Zheke returned his gaze boldly with a ﬂuid glance that seemed like there were stars hidden behind them. Her face was blushed slightly with a bright red color due to excitement, nervousness, worry and other emotions. She gripped her ﬁst and pumped into the air once. Her pink lips opened and closed, seemingly mimicking a cheering cry.
With a smile, Lou Cheng calmly bent his waist, put on his shoes and walked along the corridor unhurriedly towards the arena amidst many other gazes that could not be considered friendly. The strength in his heart slowly settled down and became accumulated, ready to be activated when the battle ofﬁcially began.
At a rough estimate, there were a hundred and ten or so audiences present on the surrounding tatamis. The majority of them were outer disciples of Hongluo Martial Arts School and the friends and families they pulled to watch the match together with them. The minority of the audiences who were the friends and families of the disciples participating in the match. Of course, this amount of people was incomparable to the vast crowd inside Songcheng University Martial Arts Club, but because they were much closer to the arena, the sounds of cheering and provocation were actually even more impactful. It felt just like someone was roaring right beside his ears. Lou Cheng could be considered a ﬁghter who was quite experienced now, and he wasn't afraid of this spectacle in the least. He passed through abusive yells, spurring remarks, the defense line formed by countless gazes and entered the arena built from limestone.
During this process, he was even able to think about some trivial stuff,
"This pair of shoes probably isn't suited for wearing much longer. It would be practically unusable after a couple more intense exertions. The path of martial arts really costs a lot of money..."
Above the arena at the referee's left-hand side, Fang Tong was already standing with his hair standing on its end and his bearing ﬁerce and aggressive. He looked like he was liable to erupt at one wrong remark.
His ﬁgure was tall and above 1.85 meters. Somehow he managed to give the impression that he was wearing a body hugging formal suit, even though he was in fact wearing a simple martial arts suit that was as scarlet as ﬁre. "You have three minutes to talk with each other." The referee looked at his watch and took a step backward.
Fang Tong gave Lou Cheng a predatory stare as he smiled disdainfully.
"You feel very proud and pleased with yourself, don't you?"
"You've used only half a year's time to grow up from a rankless newbie to a Professional Ninth Pin ﬁghter. You do have the rights to be pleased and proud."
"However, I enjoy ﬁghting against ﬁghters who claim to be geniuses like you the most. I love to see people like you panicking and struggling futilely under my attacks. I love to see the doubt in your eyes after people like you suffered a terrible defeat, and your cringing appearance when people like you appear before me. Do you know? There was once an eighteen years old Ninth Pin genius ﬁghter who literally broke into tears under my beating. Tears!" "Heh, cry all you want if you want to cry later. Don't hold back and go look for your mother for comfort later!"
Lou Cheng listened quietly as a line of introduction on Fang Tong's data suddenly ﬂashed through his mind,
"Fang Tong, well versed in trash-talking and provocations..."
He closed his eyes and conﬁrmed his ﬁghting style one last time:
The moment he climbed onto the arena, he would go all out and ﬁght as if it was in a life or death battle. He would not consider saving up any trump cards at all!
He had only gone through one life or death battle and thus wasn't sufﬁciently experienced. He could only use it as a point of reference. The moment he thought this, Lou Cheng recalled the minute details of his battle against that Dark Sect's Ninth Pin: a whip kick striking against the temple, causing two bloody and compressed eyeballs to ﬂy out of their sockets; a Rocket-like Punch rising and bursting a person's groin, causing blood and
piss to spray all over the ground; a secret discipline of mind aura assaulting his mind directly and shaking up his mind...
As compared to the fear the Dark Sect's Ninth Pin had caused, Fang Tong's trash-talking was literally like a child's abusive swears...
Slowly, Lou Cheng ignored Fang Tong's trash-talking to the point where it sounded like a distant cry. It could not affect his recollections at all.
The temporary stiffness caused by the secret discipline of mind aura, the fear brought by the Poison Sting Force, the stance that he forced himself to assume... he was well prepared, and he bit the tip of his tongue softly... he used mercurial balance and was able to dodge out of the way in time... his ears were attacked by a sound art, followed by another killer move... he used abrupt explosive force to ﬁght hand-to-hand, followed by the Power of Blaze to seize the initiative...
The images ﬂashed past his mind one after another, ultimately freezing at the scene where the Dark Sect's Ninth Pin bled out of all seven apertures of his body. The light faded swiftly from his eyes, leaving behind many qualms for life.
The image froze, and Lou Cheng opened his eyes. He looked at Fang Tong with eyes that were as frozen as ice.
"What good is a guy like you who hasn't weaned off his mother's milk no matter how strong you get? If we really..." Fang Tong was in the middle of an energetic trash-talking, but when Lou Cheng gave him an entirely unintimidating stare he suddenly stopped in surprise. He did not know why, but he suddenly felt a little chilled in his heart and was unable to say anything more for a time.
It was at this moment the referee waved his right hand. Fang Tong abruptly inhaled, causing his calves and thighs to swell up in unison. The swelling was so big that it actually caused the martial arts pants to have well-deﬁned corners. The clothes on his upper part of his body also twitched as his muscles began to bulge in succession.
To invade like ﬁre, and to erupt like ﬁre!
Pa! He swiftly approached Lou Cheng and threw a Forward Punch after taking a striding step. His poured every bit of power into his right arm and punched ﬁercely at Lou Cheng with an enraged wind, bulged muscles and tugged skin.
If an average person took a punch like this, they would suffer grievous injuries even if they were to survive!
Lou Cheng lowered his waist as lightning struck down on his head and snow mountains collapsed. A turbulent energy surged to the bottom of his feet in an unstoppable fashion.
His right foot opened horizontally, and he exerted force against the ﬂoor with a half turned posture. As a loud bang ensued, he felt a rebound entering his body. The energy spiraled slightly and ﬂowed from his feet to the thigh, waist, and spine. With this as the axis, he conducted every energy that the stream of energy passed by into his right hand.
He felt a bulge in his right arm, and his skin felt as if they had been stretched wide. Lou Cheng made a ﬁst and pounded downwards towards Fang Tong's attacking arm.
Just as the two ﬁsts were about to impact against each other, his joints twisted and his muscles pulled. He unleashed a rapid and robust abrupt explosive force.
Pa! A layer of ﬁre rose into the air, covering the surface of Lou Cheng's ﬁst before it clashed against Fang Tong's.
The Power of Blaze VS Flaming force!
Bang! There was a dull sound of impact, and Lou Cheng felt as if his right hand had been scorched by ﬁre. However, he had expected this from the start and used the recoil to toss his right arm backward, bringing himself a reactive force on the opposite side. Meanwhile, Fang Tong's face changed slightly as he instinctively threw his right arm outward in an attempt to extinguish that burning sensation on his ﬁst. His chest and stomach were immediately exposed to attacks.
At the home team's tatami area, Wang Hui, Jiang Guosheng and Pan Chengyun's expressions immediately changed.
Lou Cheng gave no quarter after gaining the upper hand, twisting his back and clenching his thighs. Borrowing the push beneath his right foot and the force created after swinging his right hand backward, his left leg was like a ﬂexible whip that abruptly tightened and whipped ﬁercely and violently towards the area between Fang Tong's legs. Moreover, he was still assuming a striding and charging posture.
Shock and fear appeared in Fang Tong's eyes, and he instantly visualized the image of Flaming Body in his head. His buttocks were subconsciously clenched as he exerted his muscles, pushed his tailbone, spurred his back into a bounce and induced his legs into an abrupt leap to the side. A person shall rush into the house when the ﬁre of passion burnt them!
This one leap allowed Fang Tong to put several meters of distance between himself and Lou Cheng. He successfully avoided that deadly whip kick.
Meanwhile, Lou Cheng unhurriedly lowered his center of gravity after missing the kick. He adjusted his muscles and stepped heavily on the limestone ground. He continuously conducted the visualized "Mega Avalanche" and "Lightning and Fire Stance" in his head to the bottom of his feet.
Dong! There was a sound that sounded like the ground was struck, and Lou Cheng bounced into the air and chased Fang Tong's leaping ﬁgure closely. His speed wasn't slower than Fang Tong's at all, and there were faint foot marks on the limestone where he stood earlier!
The one ﬁgure at the front and at the back looked like two eagles in pursuit. Fang Tong had just stood still and used the recoil to turn around when Lou Cheng had already arrived beside him. Lou Cheng turned his body sideways, lowered his shoulders, swelled up his muscles and rammed forwards strongly. He looked a little like a snow avalanche crashing down on Fang Tong.
Fang Tong could no longer dodge out of the way, and he was only able to raise his arms and block them in front of him in a hurry.
Dong! Fang Tong's arms were in pain after being rammed by Lou Cheng. His arms were pushed right before his chest.
Lou Cheng followed up the charge with a lift and a toss. The moment Lou Cheng put strength into his shoulders, Fang Tong ﬂew into the air and out of the arena. He fell in front of the tatami and nearly knocked over a few audiences.
The referee nodded slightly and felt a tinge of appreciation for Lou Cheng's mercy at the end. Otherwise, he would have to interfere and stop the ﬁght to avoid casualties.
He raised his right arm and announced loudly, "Lou Cheng wins!"
Lou Cheng had won the match in just a few breaths!
The space in the entire martial arts school belonging to the home team became as silent as the grave.
Yan Xiaoling was staring at the screen in annoyance. This was because there was an interruption in the signal just now.
A dozen of seconds later, the signal recovered. She saw the duo's clash and heard the caster's voice,
"Welcome back everyone to our match. The match has just begun, and there aren't many delays in between. Just as I had introduced during the three minutes talking period, the ﬁghter clad in scarlet martial arts suit is Fang Tong. He is a young expert ranking among the top on Songcheng, and he was already a Professional Ninth Pin more than three years ago... Er, he just lost..."
But I had only just f*cking started casting!
Chapter 118: Handsome With A Capital H
Yan Xiaoling felt just as dumbfounded as the caster was. The signal had hardly recovered when she saw Fang Tong throwing himself out of the way hurriedly and Lou Cheng chasing after him closely from behind. Before she understood what's going on, the ﬁght had come to an end.
As satisfactory as the result was, the bewildering and astonishingly short battle made Yan Xiaoling feel as if she was dreaming. She was greatly suspicious that someone had forged the broadcasting and hired two actors with similar looks to ﬁght a fake battle after the signal was interrupted, just like the old gambling movie she had once watched.
The caster ﬁnally recovered himself after a short silence.
"Hello, everyone! This is Wang Peng speaking. Welcome to the ﬁrst live broadcast of the preliminaries in Songcheng. The ﬁrst match between Fang Tong from the Hongluo Martial Arts School and Lou Cheng from the Songcheng University Martial Arts Club has just ended. The battle was intense, and the winner was decided in just several exchanges, which surprised me a lot. I believe you all are feeling just the same. Let's review the battle and ﬁgure out what happened just now."
The scene changed, and the replay began. Yan Xiaoling ﬁxed her eyes on the screen, with her mouth slightly agape and her eyes opened wide. Not ten seconds had passed when she suddenly exclaimed,
With her cry still echoing in the air, she came to realize what was happening for she had immersed herself in the network for a long time. Giving out an unrestrained laugh, she murmured to herself in both surprise and delight.
"Lou Cheng has got supernatural ability!"
"He has never used it before, quite low-proﬁle! Aha, I like him!" Picking up her cell phone, she sent a voice message to Brahman.
"Brahman, haven't you seen it? Lou Cheng is so handsome, quite a handsome boy!"
Brahman replied her with a voice message in an excited tone. "Yeah! Yeah! I've seen it. Quite handsome! It has never come to my mind that Lou Cheng has a supernatural ability. He deserves the title as a cryptic and mysterious expert! Step aside, I can't quit my anthomaniac for him!"
After a burst of a melodious laugh, she said like sleep talking, "With his Power of Blaze and his potential in martial arts, Lou Cheng will probably become a well-known ﬁghter. Till then, when I ask him for his autograph, I can say to him proudly that I'm his fan from the earliest time and I've witnessed his growth little by little!"
Yan Xiaoling said with her hands clamped on her chest, "My heart's crying...You have robbed the title as the ﬁrst fan!" Brahman chuckled. "How could you use the word 'rob'? I'm truly his ﬁrst fan! By the way, it was rude for you to call me like just then, and you should call me Daddy!"
The two girls joked and laughed for a while. Excited as she was, "Brahman" waited for the ﬁght of the second round, while she opened the "Longhu Club" forum, expecting to review the comments from familiar net friends.
There was no reply for almost one minute from the release of the ﬁghting results. Then within a dozen or twenty seconds, plenty of posts appeared.
"Unparalleled Dragon King" replied with a "NIKE Mouth" emoji: "I've ﬁnally ﬁgured out the cause and effect of his last burst when he fought with Ye Youting...He has awakened the Power of Blaze!"
"Road to the Arena" followed afterward: "... It's not too pitiful for me to lose. Besides his Power of Blaze, he has the roughness and coolness to grasp the opportunity. Watching his later strikes, I have the sense of feeling that I'd be killed by him if there was no judge when I ﬁght with him one more time..." The "Invincible Punch" Jin Tao also replied in a complicated tone: "Each time when I watch his competition, I have the feeling that the gap between us has enlarged a bit more. I'm ambitious to chase after his steps. But now, I guess I'll just be myself..."
"Beautiful World" consoled Jin Tao and said: "Little Punch, don't be so upset. You can still become an outstanding young ﬁghter if you reach the Professional Ninth Pin and get better Kongfu of Haiyuan Martial Arts School this year. Don't compare yourself with this "cheater," he's just a lucky guy..."
Though she still got no fondness for Lou Cheng, she had to admit that he was fast in his martial arts improvement, which weakened her courage to slander him.
"Outspoken" replied: "Did he win this ﬁght by supernatural ability? Why are you taking it so seriously? He would lose the game if Hongluo Martial Arts School made an adequate preparation."
"King of Fancy Leg Attacks" said jokingly: "A young ﬁghter with strong potentials and the Power of Blaze is well suited with our Longhu Club. It's perfect to match the unique skill of Fire Sect of the Taoist School with the Power of Blaze! Maybe one day Lou Cheng will join our club."
Brahman took no different attitude on cordial or deﬁant replies. Feeling good, she watched smilingly yet made no reply, and just pressed like button at the comment from the "King of Fancy Leg Attacks" and sent a " 10086", wondering about his new idol joining her favorite martial arts circle.
That would be awesome!
Inside the Hongluo Martial Arts School, over a hundred audiences suddenly fell into an incredible irritancy. There was a short silence among them, just like they got patted on the shoulder unexpectedly when they were enjoying pissing, only to ﬁnd they had to contain their piss forcibly.
Honest speaking, they were mentally prepared for the possibility that Fang Tong might lose the competition, which had been chosen by Songcheng TV Station for broadcasting on the presumption that the two sides had the strength of similar level. Also, they had got the impression of Lou Cheng—the rising star early through data and oral teachings. They understood that it would be normal for Lou Cheng to win over Fang Tong because this genius ﬁghter had once defeated an expert of Professional Ninth Pin, and they would just felt depressed for a moment at most.
But it was absolutely beyond their minds that Lou Cheng could win so quickly and swiftly!
They had hardly organized to cheer up for Fang Tong when interrupted by Lou Cheng's Power of Blaze. Screeching to a halt, they focused on the following situation nervously and worriedly. When Fang Tong avoided Lou Cheng's attack with "Flaming Body" tactic, they raised hope once again, trying to shout out and cheer Fang Tong up. While Lou Cheng seized the time to get close to Fang Tong and ended the ﬁght swiftly.
The cheering atmosphere was interrupted for two times successively, and the professional expert whom they counted on was defeated. That would be normal for them to feel depressed and fall into silence. When Yan Zheke sat upright, she looked just like an ancient noble woman. But at this time, she held her red cheeks with the left hand unconsciously, tipped her head a little, and watched Lou Cheng on the platform with sparkling eyes.
She didn't show the slightest degree of surprise at Lou Cheng's quick winning. Not just because she had already known about his Power of Blaze, but also because she had inquired Lou Cheng about the details of his ﬁght with the Ninth Pin Fighter of the Dark Sect and was deeply impressed by the breathtaking scenes. Thus she could imagine the result when Lou Cheng decided to go all out and spared no efforts at ﬁrst while his opponent had no idea of his moves.
She was delighted about Lou Cheng's imperturbability and calmness after he had created the opportunity with the Power of Blaze.
—The opportunity wasn't the guarantee of winning, and the opponent still had tactics to ﬁght back. Just like the Ninth Pin Fighter of the Dark Sect who had once created an advantageous position with the secret discipline of mind aura and the Poison Sting Force, ﬁnally died in his shoes for he had lost the opportunity. And just when Lou Cheng had made the strike, he continued his victorious pursuit and thoroughly destroyed Fang Tong's hope with the calmness and toughness exceeding his ages. The accurate control of the change of ﬁghting as well as the position which left his opponent in despair, banished Fang Tong's struggle in the air.
When Yan Zheke was falling into a reverie, she suddenly realized Lou Cheng had turned his body with his eyes gazing at herself in the distance. Lou Cheng, with his eyes glittering with a smile, was varying the mouth shapes by opening and shutting his lips.
Although she knew nothing about the lip language, she suddenly got to understand it with the feeling of empathic intuneness that Lou Cheng was saying.
"Thank you for your instructions, Coach Yan!"
"Still that silly Cheng..." Yan Zheke couldn't help laughing. Slightly showing her teeth, she smiled with dimples on her face while her face was turning red. A sudden dizziness overpowered Lou Cheng on the arena. He had never thought that the pretty and smart Yan Zheke, though under nineteen years old, showed a bewitching beauty without even looking back.
Their interaction was nearly unnoticed by the whole audience who were still immersed in shock and astonishment. There was only one exception, Geezer Shi, who twitched his mouth and coughed.
"Coach Yan? Didn't you know that I understand lip language? Damn kid, you dare to favor the pretty over your teacher! I'll throw you out if I hadn't behaved like you in the old days!"
When he murmured in silent judgment, Li Mao and Sun Jian who were standing beside him stared at each other, both with a complicated smile on their face.
"I have never expected that he has the Power of Blaze!"
"This kind of junior brother leaves us in despair..." They opened their mouths simultaneously making different comments. Chen Changhua, who was sitting behind them, murmured with a wry smile. "The junior brothers nowadays should be feared. Time makes it inevitable that in every profession, young men replace the old."
Still emotionless as Lin Que was, his eyes bright with a slight excitement. While Guo Qing, who was sitting on his right side, made a fuss and said,
"How cryptic Cheng was, when did he bring out the supernatural ability?"
Marveling at Lou Cheng for a while, Guo Qing turned back to Yan Zheke at her side and joked.
"Ke, were you moved by him? Cheng looked so cool and impressive just then..."
She had hardly ﬁnished her words when she saw Yan Zheke watching at the arena with her face turned red and her eyes bright and gentle. Guo Qing got startled, lowered her voice, and then said in mandarin to Yan Zheke, "Are you seriously moved by him? I was just kidding before! You can't accept Cheng as your boyfriend. He's so good at hiding himself and cheating others! He has become awesome suddenly and got the Power of Blaze unexpectedly..."
"I know all about these..." Yan Zheke interrupted her words in a low voice.
"Know what? You know that he tells lies? Or you know that he has the Power of Blaze?" Guo Qing asked in surprise.
Yan Zheke puckered her face in a smile. "He hasn't hidden anything from me."
Guo Qing fell into astonishment. She stared at Yan Zheke for a while and suddenly came to realize the truth. "Have you guys already started dating?"
Face ﬂushing to the ear, Yan Zheke lowered her head and said, "Yes."
Behind the audience seats of the guest team, Shu Rui got astonished and excited. She was very anxious to climb across the arena and make another interview of Lou Cheng.
Worthy of being the ﬁghter I choose!
He has made the topic himself!
Sooner or later we shall depend on him as a topic of the big news!
Cai Zongming was sitting in the front. Although he knew about Lou Cheng's Power of Blaze, he had never expected that he could win over Fang Tong so fast and so unconventionally. Getting dumbfounded for a while, he muttered to himself, "Spring is coming, and everything on earth comes to life. It's the season for mating of animals on the prairie. And Lou Cheng, in his estrus, becomes too aggressive and unapproachable..."
Hearing this, Wu Qian and other girls sniggered and looked at Lou Cheng with surprise and admiration.
"He's truly an expert."
"Haha, have you taken a fancy to him? Why don't you ask Wu Qian to get his contact number?"
In the hushed whispers, Wu Qian dragged Zhang Jingye smilingly.
"Has your classmate got a girlfriend?" Thinking for a while, Zhang Jingye answered, "Not yet, but he has set his heart on someone."
When they joined the social meetup earlier, the boys all became aware that Lou Cheng had a feeling for Yan Zheke.
"Who?" Wu Qian and the others asked in a gossiping tone.
Pointing at Yan Zheke, Zhang Jingye said, "That girl."
Looking at Yan Zheke with a ﬁxed gaze, the girls got dumbfounded and said a long while,
"How beautiful is the girl..."
Zhao Qiang and Qiu Zhigao didn't join their discussion. Instead, they cast a glimpse to each other, both astonished at the charm of Lou Cheng on the arena. Although Lou Cheng had changed a lot since this semester, they didn't notice that they were inconspicuous and even ordinary roommate had gotten the demeanor of an expert until now, because they met him every day and became insensitive to his changes.
Seeing Fang Tong came back in low spirit yet unwillingly, Wang Hui swallowed his words of consolation and straightened his face.
"Do you think your opponent has trounced you easily all because he used his supernatural ability unexpectedly?"
"No..." Fang Tong answered in a mufﬂed voice, but the expression on his face was indicating the opposite meaning.
With a snort, Wang Hui said, "What he showed out during the later confrontation was not that simple. It seems that he had once engaged in a life-and-death struggle..." "Life-and-death struggle?" Jiang Guosheng and Pan Chengyun asked in one voice, and Fang Tong also raised his head.
"Yes, once he ﬁghts with the others, he'd spare no effort to win the ﬁght with just several tough and forceful tactics." Wang Hui said with his eyes closed, "Surviving from the life- and-death struggle indicates one thing that he killed his opponent..."
Hearing this, Jiang Guosheng was terriﬁed. He had experienced the street battle before, but it was just like helping his friends to bully ﬁghters inferior to himself, which would be useless to face a ﬁghter survived from the life-and-death struggle. Thus he felt a bit weak in the momentum suddenly.
I can't imagine what kind of life-and-death struggle it is!
Hadn't he got any trouble?
Serious hit or if some other Mighty Ones was coming forward to stop the ﬁght? Seeing that Fang Tong's unwillingness and anger had disappeared, Wang Hui laughed and said,
"But you might not be afraid. As far as I know, Lou Cheng's Power of Blaze is still weak and his overall strength is inferior to Guosheng. It's undoubted that Guosheng can defeat him under full preparation."
"Also, we don't need to worry about the thing I was afraid before. It was the awakening of gift that Lou Cheng had inspired when he fought with Ye Youting at last. It's hard to happen for the second time."
Jiang Guosheng settled down gradually and recovered faith. Both Pan Chengyun and Fang Tong nodded their heads, smoothing their former moods.
Just then, the judge waved his hand to the crowd of Hongluo Martial Arts School, signaling them to send the second ﬁghter to the arena. During the broadcasting, there would be a little longer time between each competition, to spare the TV station or video website with the opportunity to make comments, introduce and interact. But the time wouldn't be too much to surpass the limit for rest of the ﬁghter who had won the previous competition.
Lou Cheng didn't mind this at all.
Wang Hui nodded his head and said to Jiang Guosheng,
"Go and take him down!"
Squinting his eyes, Jiang Guosheng stepped toward the arena in a steady pace.
Chapter 119: A Truly Fierce Battle
Jiang Guosheng had a strong physique. As he straightened his back and strolled over, he not only displayed his calmness, but also exhibited the manly spirit of a ﬁghter to its maximum. The way he controlled his pace made every step he took in rhythm, like a drummer who was beating his drum, and with every drum beat and every blast, brought his vibe to a greater height.
"Fire-like Invasion Move", projecting his strong vibe was his priority!
Facing with the constantly increasing pressure he was exerting, the people in Songcheng University Martial Arts Club was feeling easy. There was nothing for them to worry, and nothing for them to be anxious about, as to them, the fact that Lou Cheng had rapidly ﬁnished Fang Tong meant that he had already accomplished his responsibility as a vanguard. Next, he would just need to trigger Jiang Guosheng to erupt a series of ﬁerce attacks to deplete his energy. As long as Jiang Guosheng's energy became weary, Lou Cheng had already won the battle. As for whether Lou Cheng could succeed in depleting Jiang Guosheng's energy via erupting a series of ﬁerce attacks?
That was needless to ask!
Based on his performance just now, his current high energy level, and the fact that he had obtained a Professional Ninth Pin standard within half a year, the answer was obvious.
At this arena, only Yan Zheke, who was used to Lou Cheng creating multiple miracles in battles, was still looking forward to the next battle. On the other hand, people who were not familiar with Lou Cheng, such as Wu Qian and Zhao Qiang, were still cheering on, eagering for the second victory.
Following Jiang Guosheng's appearance, Hongluo Martial Arts School's external trainees and supporting disciples got rid of their disappointments as they resumed their peace. They were conﬁdent that their Senior Jiang would defeat his opponent.
They had only lost one round, what was there to be afraid of? In the recent years, as Wang Hui had reached old age, he had self-trained lesser disciples and trainees. On the other hand, Jiang Guosheng had gradually replaced his master's role and had started accepting disciples, as well as personally guiding them in martial arts. Thus, he had now become the real moderator at Hongluo Martial Arts School and held a high status in everyone's heart. All of them were also impressed by his martial arts standard and were conﬁdent in him.
The only thing that required their worries and prayers was: How many times must he erupt to defeat Lou Cheng?
If he needed to erupt for seven to eight times, most likely both sides would be injured. Then how could they deal with the opponent leading player, Lin Que, in the following round?
Even with ﬁve to six times of eruption, he would also deplete lots of energy and this would affect his performance for the following rounds, which worried many.
They could only pray hard that Senior Jiang could defeat Lou Cheng with his ﬁve eruptions, so their school's reputation would shine again and let the mass audience recognize Hongluo from a different light!
A smile crossed Lou Cheng's face as he transformed the sweetness with Yan Zheke a moment ago into a burning passion and his determination to win. This made him crave for the victory.
A ﬁghter should always challenge himself, and must not admit defeat lightly!
He shut his eyes as he imagined him freezing the water to ice, where he suppressed all his wants and waiting for the golden opportunity to erupt. He ignored the unseen pressure that Jiang Guosheng was accumulating and exerting, as he ﬁnally recalled a series of counterattacks for his upcoming battle:
To pretend to be wandering around the arena using mercurial balance while accumulating his strength. As soon as Jiang Guosheng drew near, he would launch a counterattack to disrupt his momentum for eruptive attacks. Lastly, he would use 24 Blizzard Strikes to suppress the opponent! The strategy was simple. Yet on an arena where the situation would vary from minute to minute, the more straightforward the strategy, the more useful it was!
At this moment, Jiang Guosheng had arrived on the other side of the referee. His vigor had already reached its peak, looking as if it could set the prairie ablaze. He stared sharply at his opponent that stood opposite him, who still retained much of a schoolboy look in him.
As though telepathic, the second his opponent stared over, Lou Cheng gradually peeled open his eyes. His eyes were as deep as the sea, and as cool as the ice, looking as if they could put out all the ﬁres.
They exchanged glances. On one end was a Ninth Pin ﬁghter for years and had accumulated many years of arena battle experience. On the other end was a brand new ﬁghter with experience in a life and death battle, whose eyes did not show any signs of hesitation and retreat. It was a fair battle.
The referee waited no further as he raised his right hand and swung it down with a large force before announcing. "Second round. Fight!"
The moment he said his words, Jiang Guosheng's temple swelled and his thighs' muscles expanded, stretching his pants tightly. Next, he moved his body as he dashed towards Lou Cheng like a rapidly spreading ﬁre.
Lou Cheng maintained his mercurial balance state. He bent his back and adjusted his center of gravity, which enabled him to escape from the opponent's attack. His move was out of expectation, ﬁerce and rapid, that within a few seconds, he was already a few meters apart.
Jiang Guosheng had expected such a move and was prepared for it. He wiggled his back like an earthworm, in a curl and a stretch, he switched his body direction. He was way faster than Lou Cheng and much ﬁercer than him. He was like a wolf or a tiger chasing after another so closely and had no fear for the opponent's strange variations.
And this was a Professional Ninth Pin ﬁghter, someone who could adjust his own situation based on the current circumstance, similar to Lin Que. He would only need to break through the last threshold to achieve Dan stage!
However, it seemed like Lou Cheng was only waiting for such situation to happen. He steadied his center of gravity as images of heavy lightning and collapsing snow mountains appeared in his mind. Using the force of the hot currents that rushed down and ﬂooded the large plains, he aimed towards the opponent's thigh, where the force stretched all the way to the sole of the opponent's foot.
He stomped both his feet and bounced up with violent force. With such force, he turned his body and pulled back his arms. Like a launching cannon, he ﬂew with a blast and was instantly pulled towards Jiang Guosheng. His counterattack was ferocious, rapid and violent, which not only torn apart the sound of the wind, but was also accompanied with a buzzing noise. The surrounding spectators from their home ground grew concerned over the situation and several gasping sounds could be heard!
Jiang Guosheng did not appear anxious. He tightened his hips and coccyx as he erupted with "Flaming Body" to counter his opponent's attack. He neither hid nor escaped after the attack. Instead, he made use of the energy which he had reserved just now to expand the muscles all over his body, till his body looked bloated by an inch. He then sprung his back and guided "all of his blaze" towards his right hand. Finally, he deﬂected and parried the opponent's moves before giving Lou Cheng a hammerblow.
One pound for two punches!
This was the ﬁrst time both of them collided. The impact was so loud that it echoed throughout the arena, causing people to feel depressed and offended. With the help of his listening skill, Lou Cheng retreated his double punches from the rebound and immediately adjusted his muscles. He shifted his center of gravity, tightened his thigh muscles, and used the force to launch his attack once more.
Bam! A whip kick, which was more ferocious than the double punches just now, hit Jiang Guosheng's shin violently. He had used the shortest way and the fastest speed to disrupt his opponent's momentum. Continuous strong gales and major storms hit. It was the 24 Blizzard Strikes!
Jiang Guosheng had actually intended to adjust his body, to prepare for his second eruption based on his opponent's counterattack and his corresponding visualization. However, just when an image of a spreading ﬁre had appeared in his mind and before he could expand his muscles to the next attack, Lou Cheng's whip kick had already hit him. He had no choice but to hastily spread the half-accumulated strength to his right leg, as he tightened the tip of his toe and low-kicked his opponent.
Bam! The moment both of them started attacking each other, Lou Cheng went with the ﬂow and retreated his leg. He took advantage of the borrowed strength to lean his body slightly backward, and like a catapult, he instantly threw a blast punch towards the opponent's chest!
Just then, he noticed that Jiang Guosheng suddenly took a deep breath. His right hand was no longer facing out for an attack. Instead, he retreated it and placed it in front of his chest. Then he realized that his opponent's mental spirit, vibe, blood, and breath had disappeared, or no, they had been reserved.
A thought struck Lou Cheng's mind like pieces of Hongluo Martial Arts School video images and his pre-battle discussion with Yan Zheke had suddenly appeared in his mind.
This was another killer move of Hongluo Martial Arts School. The ﬁghter would compress all the strength and energy in his body to a certain extent before erupting the killer attack, which was uniquely violent and horrifying. Without having the gathering skill of the Dan stage, it would be tough to bring the attack to its maximum power, but once you had that skill, the attack was certainly not a move that a normal Professional Ninth Pin ﬁghter could withstand.
Extreme compression would also mean extreme rebound.
"Spark Fall Move," and Spreading Blaze!
Judgement and decision were made within that split second. Lou Cheng took a breath, adjusted his muscles and shifted his center of gravity. Both his arms were stretched out like a horizontal frame.
Just as Lou Cheng had gone into the stance, Jiang Guosheng was suddenly bloated, and his body appeared to be two times bigger. He seemed much more ferocious than usual as his temple was vividly puffed up. In an instant, he shifted his feet inwards, drew out his right hand from the front of his chest and hit his opponent. His actions were as quick as lightning, as they split through the air.
Bam! Unfortunately, that move had hit right on Lou Cheng's arms and he realized that the power of that move was too strong for him to stop it. Furthermore, he felt sharp piercing pain in the area where he was hit and he knew sooner or later, his stance would be fully destroyed.
Fortunately, he was prepared. Instead of holding on to his stance, he stretched his back, twisted his body, and through strength exerting on both his legs, he broke off the stance on his own. He then leaped backward and ﬂew like a kite with a broken string. He was in "Backward Flight". Normally if a ﬁghter was beaten to this extent, one could say that he was in a dangerous state. However, for Lou Cheng, he was the one who had initiated this outcome, and was still able to maintain his balance.
In Tai Chi, there was a move where one had to step back when being caught in a continuous attack to deﬂect the opponent's strength. In Lou Cheng's case, he had taken an extreme way of applying that move. Without great control of one's own body and the absolute conﬁdence in balancing oneself, such move would be digging one's own grave!
During the "Backward Flight," Lou Cheng took the situation to his advantage as he ﬂipped his body with his back facing Jiang Guosheng. Under the pressure of the great strength, he carefully advanced his way towards his opponent without any confusion in his footwork, looking like an agile owl. On the other hand, Jiang Guosheng, who had the upper hand, was not prepared to give in. He exerted the force on his feet as he swiftly moved towards Lou Cheng. He was ready to use the ﬁnal move that Lou Cheng had used to defeat Fang Tong.
Just at this instant, Lou Cheng, who had used up most of his strength, had managed to borrow the remaining strength from the situation. He adjusted his muscles and quickly channeled all the strength towards his legs.
Dong! With his "heavy" legs, he stomped onto the ground, causing the ground to tremble slightly. He then took advantage of the situation as he twisted his body and leaped forward. His skin was stretched and his body muscles were expanded. With his legs as support, he immediately threw a Mountain Blast Punch towards his opponent. Once again, he had launched an offensive counterattack!
Jiang Guosheng, like a heavy lorry that stepped on its brake, paused immediately, but in the next second, he dashed straight towards Lou Cheng. He had channeled all his accumulated strength to his legs, and as he leaped from the ground and with the help of the strong rebound, he rapidly lashed his leg. He was determined to split open what was in front of him, even if it was a millstone!
The blast punch had stopped the leg lash, and the impact had caused a low mufﬂed noise. Both ﬁghters had stopped. This had temporarily silenced the surrounding cheering noise as the spectators at the arena and the audience in front of the broadcast were stunned by the current situation. Everyone was nervous and excited about what was going to happen next.
Crack crack crack. The martial arts shoes on both ﬁghters were split open.
The ground was marked with their footprints and cracks were revealed.
After a short moment of absolute silence, a round of reverberating applause burst out from the spectators within the stadium. No matter which side they were supporting, everyone was joyful and excited to see the battle that was purely against body strength on the arena.
Shu Rui clenched her ﬁsts tightly as a sense of hope was revealed in her eyes. She then softly heaved a sigh of relief. With this kind of battle, her live telecast would not be an issue. This meant that she would not have to be blamed for suggesting the live telecast!
Chapter 120: The Battle Is to the Strong
It was still unsure when Pan Chengyun had ﬁnally straightened his back and placed his full attention on the arena. His expression was unusually stern, and he was fully focused on the battle.
Lou Cheng perhaps, maybe, possibly, seemed to be stronger than what he expected...
Since the Warrior Sage Challenge Tournament till now, it had been more than 20 days. Based on the scary advancing rate his opponent had displayed, knowing that he had achieved the power of a Professional Ninth Pin ﬁghter merely within four months, there was a possibility that he had "more than enough time" to make a breakthrough within these days!
If he could use three months to upgrade from a level of Amateur First Pin to a level of Professional Ninth Pin, why couldn't a genius like Lou Cheng accomplish much more within a month? Moreover, he seemed to have many battle experiences, including battles against life and death, and his vibe was not any weaker than his seniors who depend on martial arts for a living.
At this moment, Lou Cheng was indeed weaker regarding strength and speed, but compared to a Professional Ninth Pin ﬁghter, he was not far from it. Furthermore, he was good at controlling his body and was quick in grasping the techniques of exerting his strength. This included the way he adjusted his strength for every punch and kick, as well as being able to create a higher explosive degree of attacks. All these could have overcome his shortcomings.
In other words, besides the poor body quality, Lou Cheng had achieved a level of Professional Ninth Pin in all other areas. In addition, his coordination, listening skill and meditation skill were way better than a Professional Ninth Pin ﬁghter. All in all, though one was not able to say that he was invincible among the Professional Ninth Pins, he was deﬁnitely a worthy opponent for any Professional Ninth Pin expert.
Of course, all these analyses were excluding the fact that he had just acquired the Power of Blaze, which was still too weak to affect the battle outcome!
Unconsciously, Pan Chengyun had viewed Lou Cheng as a young ﬁghter who was much genius than him, and had somewhat taken that view for granted. His despising attitude at the start had a 180-degree change, and instead, he had now thought too highly of his opponent.
"He doesn't have any rank yet, and there's a possibility that he'll sign up for the Professional Ninth Pin Ranking Event at the end of April. If only a few participants have signed up for it, we would meet again..." Pan Chengyun murmured. No matter how calm he was, he still felt that it was a pain in the ass.
His current certiﬁed rank was only Amateur First Pin, and he had signed up for Professional Ranking Event at the end of April.
Yan Zheke noticed Lou Cheng's martial arts shoes had split open where its base was torn and tattered, looking like a hindrance for him during battle. She felt it amusing yet heart- aching. At the same, she felt that his body could deal with all kinds of trials and hardships, and handle all responsibilities.
"I don't remember buying him a gift yet..." She suddenly recalled, feeling embarrassed yet heart-warming.
On the arena, Lou Cheng's martial arts shoes had ﬁnally given way. He felt pain and soreness in his arms, as though he had endured a thousand hits on his arms. If he did not take the opportunity to step back when Jiang Guosheng launched the killer move "Spark Fall Move," besides destroying his stance, he might have lost the battle. Both his arms and hands would not be able to handle that attack, and if they continued to battle on, he would have suffered from either a bone crack or a fracture!
Purely based on strength, it would be impossible for him to win Jiang Guosheng.
But in a tournament battle, pure strength only played the primary factor in determining the outcome, but not the only factor! Under such circumstance, Lou Cheng did not think much. He knew that he had no time to delay or wait for his arms to recover from the soreness, as his opponent might take the chance to launch another explosive attack. At this time, the battle was to the strong!
He forcefully took a breath. Feeling as though it was a battle to life and death and without making any adjustment to his body, he leaped forward. He strengthened his legs, and tightened his thighs, as he drew out his right leg from the back and aimed straight in between Jiang Guosheng's legs.
Geezer Shi, who had initially sat and watched the battle without any expression, adjusted his sitting posture upon seeing that scene. He chuckled and said,
"That's pretty keen of him..."
On the end, Wang Hui from Hongluo Martial Arts School frowned as he murmured to himself,
"If only that's Fang Tong..." Jiang Guosheng was trying to regulate his breathing and preparing his body for the fourth explosive attack when suddenly, he saw Lou Cheng's leg aiming towards him. Instead of defending, Lou Cheng chose to attack. Instead of slowing down, Lou Cheng chose to speed up, which showed that he was totally serious about this battle. This made Jiang Guosheng panicked as he immediately channeled his just accumulated energy towards his right leg. He forcefully straightened his right leg and swung it out like a whip, aiming straight at Lou Cheng.
Bam! The two shoeless legs hit one another in mid-air and withdrew. Lou Cheng sped up as he swiftly moved his back and shifted him beside Jiang Guosheng. He lowered his back and lifted with his right arm. In an instant, he ferociously launched a Downward Cut with Fist, towards the opponent's temple.
His master had reminded him once that to disrupt the opponent's momentum, one need not foolishly to keep attacking from the front, but to bring your strength to the play by inﬂuencing the opponent. Through inﬂuencing, one could force the opponent into a position that was inappropriate or incorrect to battle with oneself! Because Lou Cheng had yet to regulate his breathing and due to his lack of strength, he could only attack the vital point.
Every strike needed to be fast and crafty!
"He catches it pretty fast..." Geezer Shi nodded in satisfaction.
Jiang Guosheng caught a breath before he straightened his shoulders and lifted his left arm to block the punch towards his temple. The moment their arms contacted, the muscles in his body started to expand. With his left arm as the connecting point and his back as the energy absorber, Jiang Guosheng suddenly launched a massive Swing Force, violently pushing his opponent away. This caused Lou Cheng to lose his balance as he unsteadily fell to the side.
The ﬁfth explosive attack, "Fire-like Invasion Move"!
The moment Lou Cheng lost his balance, he was clear that he would need to recover his footwork fast, and that he would soon be welcomed by Jiang Guosheng's sixth explosive attack. The fate of this battle was now in Jiang Guosheng's hand, that there would not be any possibility for Lou Cheng to win.
At such desperate situation, an idea struck his mind. While he was falling off, he ﬂicked his ﬁnger at the opponent's temple with his right hand.
A small ﬁre appeared, which burnt a few strand of Jiang Guosheng's hair.
Thud thud thud, Lou Cheng moved back three steps as he quickly adjusted his body and recovered his balance. On the other hand, Jiang Guosheng felt a scorching pain at his head. He was worried that his hair and head would get burnt, so he quickly used his hand to put off the ﬁre, and was not in time to pursue his opponent.
Seeing such situation, an idea struck Lou Cheng as he took a breath and suddenly pounced towards Jiang Guosheng, who had just started to chase him. This had instantly drawn the two ﬁghters closer. Lou Cheng stepped his right foot forward and with a jerk on his shoulder, he threw a blast punch towards the opponent's abdomen.
Lou Cheng's bravery was beyond Jiang Guosheng's expectation. He had no choice but to push forward his sixth explosive attack. He rapidly lowered his hands, like a descending eagle, preparing to suppress Lou Cheng's blast punch.
Seeing the situation, Wang Hui, the owner of Hongluo Martial Arts School, could not help but sigh. He initially thought that his disciple had grown through the years and was becoming more mature, which was good. He was in high hopes that he could achieve the Dan stage someday. However, with a battle experience like today, he saw its pros and cons. If nothing had forced his disciple to his edge, he would not even have the courage to take a risk and to do his best.
If today it was Fang Tong, why would he waste those opportunities away regulating his breath? Why would he care about whether his hair was burnt? To create opportunity, one must ﬁrst know how to seize the opportunity, which was the essence of Fire-like Invasion Move.
The difference between Jiang Guosheng and Lou Cheng was not only that the former had never experienced a battle with life and death, since that could be offset by the years of fruitful battle experience. It was due to his lack of courage which he had when he was young. Those who did not have much courage had their own tricked set and advantage in battle, but the main skill Hongluo Martial Arts School taught their disciples was "Fire-like Invasion Move," which contradicted with his own personality!
And today was the day to see if he could get rid of his problem on his own!
Bam! The instant Lou Cheng's blast punch was suppressed, he jerked his right arm and moved his wrist, drawing a small curve in the air before grabbing Jiang Guosheng's wrist.
Big or Small Hand Wrap! Jiang Guosheng was not an easy fellow either. He gathered all his energy to slap his opponent with his hand, as though he was a mosquito or a ﬂy.
And at this moment, Lou Cheng, who was continuously exerting his energy forcefully, had reached his limit. He breathed out the turbid Qi from his lungs through his mouth.
He cleverly avoided the slap from his opponent. Before he could breathe out all his turbid Qi, a thought crossed his mind as he recalled seeing a broadcast. At the critical moment, when Dragon King's body was suppressed by the opponent and was about to experience a massive knockdown attack from his opponent, he threw out ﬁre from his mouth, which burnt the opponent's face. This then turned the situation around and made him a winner.
Such a thought turned into an idea. Lou Cheng made use of the Jindan (the Golden Elixir) in his body to perceive his inner body. After making a slight adjustment, together with the image of Brutal Blizzard in his mind, he opened his mouth, exhaled his Qi and shouted, "Ha!"
The turbid Qi turned into arrows and ﬂew right into Jiang Guosheng's face. Though no real injury was inﬂicted, such move had temporarily blinded his eyes, making the opponent to shut his eyes in fear.
Now is the time!
Seizing the opportunity, Lou Cheng grabbed Jiang Guosheng's left wrist, and like lifting a snake, he swung his opponent with delicate force.
Clap clap clap! Jiang Guosheng tried to resist, but several of his joints had already loosened. His muscles had also become sore due to the injuries and dislocation of his bones, and his left arm was temporary useless!
"Ah!" He roared angrily. After being forced to such an extent, he could no longer care. He inﬂated his body once more, and slanted to the left. His heavy shoulder hit onto Lou Cheng. The seventh explosive attack, "Fire-like Invasion Move"!
However, by this time, Lou Cheng had already made use of his strength, Listening Skill and Perceiving Technique. He lowered himself, bent his back and tugged in his body. His body went with the ﬂow when Jiang Guosheng's shoulder hit him. Making his left arm as the pivot point, he swung his opponent out and over his head. Jiang Guosheng was swung out of the arena.
The referee was slightly shocked by the situation, but he lifted his arm and announced the outcome,
"Second Round. Lou Cheng wins!"
There were still two more "Fire-like Invasion Move" remaining, but Jiang Guosheng had already lost the battle.
Dong! Watching their Senior Jiang fell in front of them and struggling to stand up, the disciples and trainees at Hongluo Martial Arts School were depressed and miserable. No one spoke a word. Did this mean Lou Cheng had defeated the martial arts school all by himself?
Songcheng University Martial Arts Club kept silent. Everyone was stunned by this surprise outcome. It was clear that Jiang Guosheng was so much stronger and was at the upper hand throughout the battle. Why had he lost to Lou Cheng in the end? Not only that, he had lost in a way which was much uglier than Fang Tong, and the injury on his left arm would not be cured anytime soon!
Yan Zheke's pinkish lips appeared nervous. She instantly shut her mouth, revealing a mischievous and gentle smile. This was exactly how she had reacted when she heard the news on the Warrior Sage Challenge Tournament.
Pan Chengyun could no longer suppress his anger and his rage to battle on within him, as he hurriedly stood up and stomped towards the arena.
Now, Lou Cheng, who was joyful about his achievement, swung his arms and massaged his ﬁsts. He felt some slight pains in his bones and if they were to continue with the battle, there was a possibility that he might injure himself. Furthermore, his next opponent was only of Amateur First Pin, how could he snatch all the limelights and not leave any for his future brother-in-law, wasn't it?
As Pan Chengyun came forward, he turned his body and left the arena barefooted. He did not even take a look at the upcoming opponent.
"He walked off..." Pan Chengyun was stunned by the situation.
He just walked off like this?
I'm of Professional Ninth Pin, not Amateur First Pin!